- A new EIU report shows that 69% of consumers polled use smartphones and desktops for shopping in equal measure—but 81% of millennial respondents say they mainly use smartphones for these purposes
- Those who shop infrequently from mobile devices blame this most on small screen sizes and awkward navigation
- Among those who do not yet use mobile devices to request product samples, roughly half believe they will do so in the future
A report published today (January 19th) by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) says that retailers have yet to wake up to the mobile opportunity in their industry. In a few years, a generation whose shopping habits have matured alongside the emergence of mobile technology will become the mainstay of retail spending in developed economies, the report states. This threatens retailers who fail to meet this group’s rising expectations for seamless delivery of more sophisticated mobile shopping services as this cohort’s purchasing power grows, the report adds.
How mobile is transforming retail: Bricks, clicks, tweets and texts across the omnichannel shopping mall, sponsored by SAP SE, assesses the use of mobile devices by global consumers for both basic and sophisticated tasks.
In a global survey for the report, 60% of those polled use their mobile devices to comparison shop; 76% say in-store staff using mobile devices to ring up purchases appeals to them; and 51% of those who do not yet request product samples believe they will do so in the future.
As retailers work to meet customer demands for mobile shopping services, several obstacles hold back customers reticent to switch to mobile devices for shopping tasks of all sorts. These include mall screens, according to 63% of those polled, while awkward navigation is cited as a deterrent by 39% of infrequent mobile shoppers. In response, retailers are fine-tuning the ease of use of their mobile services – and anticipating the shortcomings of users’ devices and infrastructure.
Carolyn Whelan, the report’s editor, said: “Mobile shopping continues to grow in its reach and breadth. But as demand for more sophisticated services picks up, particularly among millennials, shoppers will be less forgiving of services that fall short. As retailers shift or expand their mobile service offerings, a cohesive strategy considering consumer capabilities and needs across multiple touchpoints, from the physical store to desktops and smartphones, is paramount.”
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Notes to editors
About the survey
The report is based on a March 2015 survey of 519 consumers across 39 countries that polled respondents on how they engage with retailers through mobile devices. Among respondents, a near-equal share of respondents hailed from four regions: the Asia-Pacific (23%); Europe (23%); Latin America (22%); and North America (23%); with the balance (9%) of respondents in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. The millennials group made up over half (51%) of the sample. A near-equal share of men (54%) and women (46%) were polled.
About the Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better decisions by providing timely, reliable, and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies. More information can be found at www.eiu.com or www.twitter.com/theeiu.