Changing Perspectives - How Consumers View Their Mobile Devices

June 07 2013

Author: Simon Walker

Today’s consumers are as comfortable shopping on their mobile device as they are on a desktop or even on the high street, expecting to be able to engage with retailers via whichever method is most convenient to them at the time.

But they also expect their shopping experience to be consistent, regardless of the touchpoint used.

Back in February, we carried out a year-on-year comparative survey in which we questioned UK smartphone and tablet owners about their mobile shopping habits. The results of this survey indicated a widespread acceptance of mobile as a means of browsing and purchasing goods online, as well as a growing expectation by consumers of a relevant, informative and consistent browsing experience.

Mobile is definitely taking off as a shopping channel, with almost two thirds of respondents (59%) reporting that they had used a mobile device to purchase a product online – 19% more than at the same time last year, and twice as many as in 2011.

And it’s not just smartphones.

With only 2% doing so in 2011, and just 5% in 2012, the proliferation of relatively affordable tablet devices that flooded the market last Christmas now means that one in five of the consumers surveyed had used a tablet to shop online.

As well as embracing it as a shopping channel, it would also appear that consumers are becoming more discerning in their use of mobile. Indeed, three quarters of those surveyed said it was very important to them to have sufficient product information - such as size and colour details, or stock availability – on their mobile, an increase of 8% on last year.

However, although around a third of consumers said they enjoyed shopping by mobile, rating their experience as either good (21%) or excellent (10%), 17% were actually put off from making a purchase due to a lack of such product information.

But it appears to be mobiles themselves that are putting consumers off using them for online shopping. Almost half (46%) lacked trust in the security of their mobile device, and a similar number (48%) complained that the screen was too small for them to easily read the product information they needed before making a purchase.

Finally, we’ve learned that the mobile has become an integral part of the shopping journey with almost half (46%) of respondents saying that they regularly or always use their mobile to research products and read reviews before they make a purchase. In turn, we have seen select retailers respond to this trend with the recent growth in “showrooming”, where consumers sample physical goods in a high street store before using their mobile to compare prices for the same product elsewhere.

We’ve seen how these new “omni-channel” consumers are becoming increasingly more at ease using their mobile while they shop. Whether they’re browsing, researching or purchasing, we’ve seen that they’re looking for a satisfying experience with consistent, accurate data optimised for every consumer channel.

You can see the full results of the survey in our whitepaper here, and next week, we’ll look at how these requirements are being, or should be, addressed by retailers to increase customer loyalty and sales.

By Simon Walker, Stibo Systems, Director Ecommerce Innovation


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