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UK shoppers now more open to offers via their phones: study

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British shoppers are becoming more open to the idea of being targeted with relevant coupons via their smartphones, both while they’re on the move and when they’re in retailers’ stores, new research suggests.

Seven in 10 UK shoppers now own smartphones – and six in 10 find the idea of getting targeted coupons attractive, research from Savvy Marketing found.

The company quizzed 1,000 UK household shopping decision makers on their attitudes towards digital marketing in its bi-monthly shopper panel surey. It found a growing appetite.

The report sets out a context in which smartphone ownership is reaching critical mass, with 71% of UK shoppers now owning a smartphone. By the end of 2014, that’s expected to rise to 78%. Amongst the youngest shopper age group, 18-24, 87% owned smartphones.

At the same time, 59% of UK households now have at least one tablet computer, a figure expected to hit 71% by the end of the year. Shoppers aged between 25 to 34 years old were most likely to have one, with 68% of their households owning one.

Perhaps in line with this, more shoppers than in previous years said they found the idea of online shopper marketing more attractive. Some 65% of shoppers said they liked the idea of getting targeted coupons sent to their smartphones, compared to 24% in 2012. Then, 64% were open to the idea of getting a targeted coupon sent to their smartphone while they are instore. Finally, 59% said they would like help via their smartphone to find something while they’re in store.

Grocery retailers were most trusted, by 68% of those questioned, to deliver digital marketing campaigns direct to their smartphones, followed by loyalty card providers (58%). But only 32% would trust brands to deliver such campaigns, and 24% said they wouldn’t trust any of those groups.

“Our research shows the scale and scope of shoppers’ increased demand for digital shopper marketing,” said Alastair Lockhart, insight director at Savvy Marketing.

“They truly are open to receiving personalised, relevant and timely marketing communications that inspire purchases in new ways. Retailers, who are the closest to the shopper, need to facilitate and lead this fundamental change. Brands on the other hand, also need to up their game. We see them taking more of a partnership role with these types of initiatives in conjunction with retailers – rather than expecting shoppers to download numerous apps for each brand owner, making it unnecessarily complex.

“Digital shopper marketing is no longer the future, but the very present. It is set to fundamentally reshape the way that grocery retailers and brands communicate with shoppers. Indeed we believe it has the potential to be the most significant development since the arrival of self-service supermarkets. Exciting times ahead!”

The study came as figures from coupon specialists Valassis showed that UK shoppers redeemed 603m coupons, with a value of £1.7bn in 2013. That’s 35% up from 2012.

The average household, it said, redeemed coupons worth £64 a year.

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