GfK: Shoppers bring online competition inside bricks-and-mortar stores

e-Commerce, Marketing, Studies

When shopping, 40% shoppers worldwide use their mobile phones while shopping inside a store to compare prices, 40% contact friends or family for advice and over a third take pictures of products they might buy, shows a GfK study made in 23 countries. According to the study, 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.

For the study, 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).

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.

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.

Adrian Hobbs,

Managing Director Online Pricing Intelligence GfK

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 over half of them (59, 54 and 53% 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 % respectively.

At international level, 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% women and 39% men say they regularly do this). Young adults aged 20-29 lead on this particular activity (48%), while teens aged 15-19 follow closely (47%) and those aged 30-39 trail (40%).

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, over half (55, 53 and 52%) saying that they regularly do this. By comparison, shoppers in Japan, Indonesia and Germany are the least likely to do that (16, 21 and 24%).

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, over a third of men and women (36%) routinely take 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% and 43%), followed by 30-39 year old shoppers (39%).

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.