As digital commerce extends into mobile technologies, growing numbers of consumers are integrating smartphones into their purchasing processes. This worldwide trend is moving fastest in certain emerging markets, where switched-on consumers are proving more apt to embrace m-shopping than are their developed market peers. New research shows that just 16 percent of US online consumers have used a mobile device to shop online, far short of consumers in emerging markets such as China and India.
After more than a decade of tracking consumers' use of digital technology, global communications company Havas Worldwide has undertaken a major study to look at emerging paths to purchase around the world. Working with research partner Market Probe International, Havas Worldwide surveyed 10,219 adults in 31 countries, representing a combined population of more than five billion.
U.S. sample findings from the study include:
- In-store as showroom for digital commerce: Globally, 43 percent of those surveyed have used a smartphone to check for a better price or product reviews online while shopping for a product in a store. The practice is standard in China (74 percent), India (62 percent), and Singapore (58 percent). Yet, in the United States, less than one-third of consumers (32 percent) have used a mobile phone for comparison shopping or research while browsing a brick-and-mortar retailer.
- Americans are less likely to see a smartphone as a POS: Despite the majority of top retailers investing R&D dollars in mobile apps, only 26 percent of US consumers are comfortable purchasing products with their smartphones. Conversely, in China and India the majority of consumers are comfortable doing so (64 and 54 percent).
- Americans are less worried about privacy/security when shopping online: Despite high-profile security breaches regularly making headlines in the US, Americans are less concerned than their global counterparts about sharing sensitive information online or being the victim of fraud. Globally, 78 percent of consumers worry at least occasionally about their security when shopping online. More than half (54 percent) of respondents in Brazil worry every time they make a purchase online, as do 49 percent in Chile, 43 percent in Colombia and Mexico, and 32 percent in Argentina. Similarly, 37 percent in France and 33 percent in Italy are every-time worriers. In contrast, only 1 in 10 Americans worry every time they place an order online, and 1 in 4 report that they are never or only rarely concerned about the security of their information while making purchases online.
- Peer reviews have less influence over Americans: More than 3 in 5 global respondents (61 percent) trust peer reviews of products and services more than they trust expert reviews. Here, too, percentages are far higher in China and India (87 and 74 percent), as well as Brazil (78 percent), than in the US (58 percent).
"Our study explores how consumers are moving on from the last decade's relatively simple and static model of digital commerce to the more complex and dynamic systems of m-shopping, using a mix of fixed and mobile devices," says Matt Weiss, Global Chief Marketing Officer of Havas Worldwide. "This shift is most pronounced in Asia, where wider adoption of m-shopping is giving brands and developers great incentive to push through new mobile-centric services. They're well placed to be ahead of the curve in the coming generations of m-shopping technologies and systems."
"Brands and their marketers need to understand that mobile technologies are far more than just desktop digital in a handier format, especially in markets where desktop is not as common," says Marianne Hurstel, Vice President, Havas Worldwide's BETC and global chief strategy officer, Havas Worldwide. "They are radically changing the consumer-brand relationship. Mobile devices provide each consumer with a personal 24/7 media space in which they control who and what appears."
"The evolution of digital from a desktop paradigm to a mobile paradigm makes it far more difficult for marketers to retain consumers' attention," says Matt Weiss. "In markets where smartphones are the norm, brands must aim to create preference by developing apps that make transactions quick and seamless, and that offer more value than the consumer can find elsewhere. More and more, this will mean making smart use of data to engage people at point of purchase with tailored offers that convince them to close the deal."