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Mobile is the driving force in online shopping, but retailers still not ready study suggests

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More people than ever before are shopping online – driven increasingly by mobile, with nearly half of mobile users (48%) making purchases online regularly. In addition nearly 1 in 5 browse products online before buying in stores. Taken together, more than 70% of mobile consumers shop online.

As a result, mobile as a shopping channel is now on a par with PCs and a key to driving the change in consumer shopping behavior – but retailers still aren’t up to handling it. So finds a new report from BuzzCity, commissioned by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), reveals the changing trends in online shopping.

In some countries, mobile has become the most dominant shopping channel. This is highly apparent in the Asia Pacific region where mobile leads the way for shopping, as more of the population turn to mobile as their primary device. A third (32%) shop with their mobiles compared to a fifth (21%) with PC’s in the region. Further growth in mobile is expected as nearly one in three (30%) of those surveyed said that they would consider using their mobiles for shopping.

However, the explosive rise of mobile as a shopping channel appears to have caught many retailers off guard. The survey records that more people are leaving stores without making a purchase for a variety of reasons. At least 22% left stores for a better deal online compared to 13% last year and 27% could not find what they wanted in stores compared to 14% in 2013. Overall, fewer customers are engaging with shop assistants and consequently not making it to the tills, which should signal strong alarm bells for retailers.

Dr KF Lai, CEO and founder of BuzzCity explains: “We know that consumers are driven by mobile in the first instance, but mobile first shouldn’t mean mobile only for retailers”.

Lai continues: “Consumers are changing the way they choose their purchases – it has become more complex and will continue to evolve. The survey highlights mobile’s potential to undermine traditional brand power and the imperative for marketers to maintain the relevance of their message across all digital media.”

Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director (APAC) at MMA adds: “Mobile as a channel has evolved very quickly but the challenge for marketers is to create a seamless shopping experience across all the channels to ensure that consumers are getting a consistent brand message and identity.”

The survey was conducted in April and May 2014 amongst 3590 respondents from 26 countries including 11 Asia Pacific markets. Results are published in the The BuzzCity Report Volume 4 Issue 3.

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