Shoppers Bringing Online Competition Inside Bricks-and-mortar Stores

Online shoppers are famous for having instant access to price comparisons at the very moment of making a purchase – but now ‘bricks and mortar’ shoppers are bringing this behavior in-store.

GfK asked mobile phone users in 23 countries what activities they regularly do on their mobile phones while they are inside a store. The leading behaviors are comparing prices and contacting a friend or family member for advice (at 40 percent each), followed by taking pictures of products that they might buy (at 36 percent).

Half of global shoppers, aged 20-29, compare prices online, while inside a store

Globally, men outweigh women on using their mobile phone inside a store to compare prices on a regular basis, standing at 42 percent and 37 percent respectively. The most active age group is shoppers aged 20-29, with nearly half (49 percent) saying they regularly do this, followed by those aged 15-19 and 30-39, both at 45 percent.

Adrian Hobbs, Managing Director of Online Pricing Intelligence at GfK, comments, “With significant numbers of shoppers being online whilst they are inside shops, bricks-and-mortar outlets need to respond. Having a close and real-time eye on the pricing of online competitors and reacting quickly are now key success factors for physical retailers, as well as online ones. This is especially true for retailers in regions such as Asia and South America, as consumers here are most active in using their mobiles while in a store.”

Looking at individual countries, shoppers in South Korea, China and Turkey are the most likely to compare prices in-store on their mobile phones, with 59, 54 and 53 percent respectively saying they regularly do this. Shoppers in Ukraine, South Africa and India are least likely to participate in this activity, standing at just 11, 15 and 17 percent respectively.

Contacting friends or family for advice is equally important to men and women

Globally, men and women are almost equally likely to use their mobile phones inside a store to contact a friend or family member for advice (40 percent of women and 39 percent of men say they regularly do this). Young adults aged 20-29 lead on this particular activity at 48 percent, while teens aged 15-19 follow closely (47 percent) and those aged 30-39 trail at 40 percent.

This shows that word of mouth and advice from the shopper’s own circle is now present right at the very moment of making the purchase decision inside a store. Sales staff and the physical shopping experience face a significant new external influence in-store.

Looking at individual countries, shoppers in Mexico, Poland and Turkey are the most likely to use their mobile phones to contact a friend or family for advice while in a store, with 55, 53 and 52 percent respectively saying that they regularly do this. By comparison, shoppers in Japan, Indonesia and Germany are the least likely to do so, with just 16, 21 and 24 percent respectively.

Men and women are equal in taking pictures of products for later purchase decisions  

Taking photographs of actual products that they might buy is the third most popular activity that shoppers use their mobiles for while they are inside a store. Globally, men and women stand equal on this activity, with over a third (36 percent) of each routinely taking photos of products while shopping. Globally, teens (aged 15-19) and young adults (aged 20-29) are ahead of the curve on snapping photos inside a store (44 percent and 43 percent respectively), while the 30-39 year old shoppers follow at 39 percent.

Looking at individual countries, shoppers in Mexico (49 percent), China (49 percent) and Turkey (47 percent) are again the most likely to use their mobile phones whilst in a store – this time to take pictures of products that they might buy. By comparison, this activity is still nascent in markets such as India (12 percent), Ukraine (13 percent) and Indonesia (16 percent) – but this trend needs to be watched closely, as smartphone penetration increases in these markets.

View our infographics:

What shoppers do via mobile while inside a store: http://www.gfk.com/PublishingImages/Press/GfK-Infographic-Mobile-in-Retail-Total.jpg

By country, comparing prices via mobile while inside a store: http://www.gfk.com/PublishingImages/Press/GfK-Infographic-Mobile-Compare-Prices-Countries.jpg

About the study

For the survey, GfK interviewed more than 25,000 mobile phone users aged 15 or older in 23 countries either online or face-to-face in summer 2014. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Ukraine and USA.

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