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Rise in ‘smart’ shoppers as 80% use tech for research: Study

It is the age of the ‘smart’ shopper as technology now pervades every retail transaction, according to a recent MasterCard report. With this shift towards technology, the shopping experience is also becoming vastly different for retailers and consumers alike.

Eight out of ten global shoppers’ purchase decisions are now informed by a digital device, with consumers saying they are smarter shoppers and getting more value than before. A trend that emerged from the report was that while in-store sales still account for more than nine-tenths of all retail spending, the result is a more focussed in-store shopper buying from a narrower list of unique stores than in years past.

The MasterCard report combines survey data from thousands of shoppers around the globe with transaction-based insights from MasterCard.

About 80 per cent of consumers report using technology during the shopping process, such as smartphone apps for price checks, ‘click and collect’ services to buy online and pick up in-store, and in-store technology to research or order a product.

In China, 95 per cent of all consumers use technology at some point in the shopping process and 94 percent have used retail-based shopping tools such as automatic notifications and mobile payments.

In Australia, more than one in two are doing more research online today than two years ago, above the global average of 62 per cent.

Brick and mortar still going strong as the data from the survey shows that the omnishopper choose physical stores for better customer service and a faster, more social buying experience. This might be a contributor to e-commerce’s relatively flat growth as a share of total retail sales (7.5 per cent globally).

More than two-thirds of Japanese shoppers value the advice they get from in-store sales associates and the social experience.

The study highlights that consumers now want specific inventory, and a seamless experience accessing it. The top frustration – cited by 73 per cent of respondents – is items not being in stock, underscoring the importance of inventory management for retailers.

About 80 per cent of global consumers claim to be ‘smarter shoppers’ than they were a few years ago and 68 per cent say they are getting more value from what they buy (both in-store and online) compared to five years ago.

More than nine in 10 consumers in China (92 per cent), Indonesia (91 per cent) and Brazil (91 per cent) report that they are more savvy shoppers compared to a few years ago.

Nine in ten Chinese shoppers feel that they are getting more value out of their purchases compared to five years ago.

Despite having nearly endless choices a click away, only 30 per cent of shoppers around the world like to try new merchants. Just 20 per cent say technology has led them to consider a new retailer.

In China, however, 40 per cent of consumers like to try new merchants, the second highest in the world after the UAE (43 per cent).

“In order to thrive in an increasingly competitive retail landscape – one in which 80 per cent of people are claiming to be ‘Smarter Shoppers’ – retailers also need to get savvier about their use of technology to improve the overall shopping experience and help drive loyalty and growth. It is clear that the sociability and immediate customer service offered in-store still hold significant appeal, but there is huge scope for brands to harness big data, mobile applications and the power of social media to improve customer interaction, increase loyalty and make the online shopping experience more seamless. With a fast-growing smartphone penetration rate, e-commerce will continue to be an important growth area for brands across Asia Pacific in the coming decade,” said Eric Schneider, Region Head, Asia Pacific, MasterCard Advisors.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.