Internet sites remain the preferred digital channel for shoppers across most phases of the online shopping journey, beginning with the awareness phase of research, according to [pdf] a July 2012 report by Capgemini. 72% of the more than 16,000 digital shoppers surveyed across 16 countries rated internet sites as important or extremely important for learning about products, followed by email (58%) and in-store technology such as kiosks (49%). Social media was cited by 45%, ahead of smartphone applications (40%), with call centers trailing, at 32%.
The value of the internet as a research tool holds firm across commodity types. 79% of electronics shoppers said the internet is important during the awareness phase. 74% of do-it-yourself (DIY) shoppers said the same, as did 73% of fashion shoppers, 70% of health and personal care shoppers, and 59% of food shoppers.
Internet Dominates In Choosing, But No Channel Is Unimportant
Data from Capgemini’s “Digital Shopper Relevancy” report indicates that the importance of the various digital channels in the choosing phase follows the same order of preference as in the selection phase, with much the same percentages. Overall, 71% of shoppers rate the internet as important or extremely important, 56% rate email that way, followed by in-store technology (51%), social media (42%), smartphone apps (38%) and call centers (31%).
Still, no digital channel is unimportant, and the importance of, for example, smartphone apps rises in developing nations and among younger shoppers. 73% of shoppers in India and 70% of those in China view smartphone apps as important for selection, compared with just 12% of respondents in Finland and 19% in Sweden. And, 48% of shoppers aged 34-45 cited smartphone apps as important during the choosing phase, versus 28% of shoppers aged 55-64 and just 12% of those 65 or older.
According to a June report by SymphonyIRI, Millennials index highest among age groups in the influence of smartphone apps (362 versus an average 100) when shopping for CPG products, although only 15% of Millennial shoppers use these apps when making brand decisions.
In-Store Tech More Important During Purchase
Meanwhile, according to the Capgemini report, during the transaction phase, in-store technology such as kiosks and integrated devices on shopping carts moves to the second channel of choice, and is cited as important or extremely important by 54% of respondents, compared to 67% for internet sites. Shoppers use in-store technology to find products, create digital “shopping carts” and pay for products–much like they do using the internet.
Just 38% of respondents see smartphone apps as an important digital channel during the transaction phase, but here again, the developing markets are significantly more interested. 71% of respondents in India said apps were important when purchasing a product and in China the figure was 69%, compared with 11% in Finland and 19% in Sweden.
- More than half of respondents from both developing and mature markets expect physical stores to become showrooms to select and order products by 2020.
- 56% of respondents overall are likely to spend more money at a physical store if they have used digital channels to research the product prior to purchase.
- 73% of respondents also expect online prices to be lower than those in physical stores.
- 55% of women shoppers are more engaged when using digital channels, compared with 44% of men.
- 61% of respondents said they want online stores to remember their personal shopper history to speed up shopping, but only 41% would want to be identified through smartphones when entering a physical store.
About The Data: Capgemini worked with ORC International to survey more than 16,000 consumers in 16 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US. The composition of the consumer sample in each country was representative of the population for age and gender; income; education; employment and marital status.