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Comment: UK leads the way in adopting tech for smart(phone) shopping

A global study of consumer purchasing habits has revealed that UK consumers are tech-savvy. By Steven Skinner and Ron Curry


Comment: UK leads the way in adopting tech for smart(phone) shopping

A global study of consumer purchasing habits has revealed that UK consumers are tech-savvy. By Steven Skinner and Ron Curry

Our research, carried out among 4,000 shoppers globally, has shown that the recent explosion in the smartphone and the web-based technology market has led to a whole new way of shopping.

With the meteoric rise of the smartphone and the ubiquity of web-based technology, there has been a dramatic change in consumer buying habits. According to research company IDC, the global smartphone market is on track to grow 55% in 2011. There is no doubt that mobile and social media have had an impact on influencing people’s buying decisions and many consumers prefer to research products on the internet via their smartphones prior to purchasing.

Our study highlighted that the majority of customers who use web-based technology for researching items were UK-based, with the UK coming out on top as the most tech-savvy when compared to other countries around the globe. The use of price comparison websites is also the most widely used in the UK and was another strong factor in the decision-making process before buying an item. Additionally, the research demonstrated that UK customers were less likely to rely on coupons or to ask family and friends before purchasing a product compared to other global regions, such as the US.

The research also shows that people who are the most likely to pay for items via their personal mobile devices were those who have grown up surrounded by technology. These individuals have been coined “generation Y.” Previous generations were more cautious of the new technology and still have privacy or security concerns with the new technology.

Although common in Oyster cards in London, the West appears to be behind in implementing Near Field Communication technology for mobiles, and there is still some way to go in gaining acceptance within mobile payments. Many UK shoppers are still cautious and rely on a human face for any problems during a retail experience. This caution, coupled with the disruption that will be caused through technological restructuring, may lead to a slower adoption of NFC. Retailers have so far been reluctant as they will have to implement changes within stores for enabling NFC mobile payments, but with recent NFC announcements from the likes of Google and BlackBerry, they’ll have to embrace it.

Our research findings not only show a change in consumer purchasing preferences towards a more knowledgeable and savvy UK consumer, but also identify an incredible opportunity for businesses now and in the future.

Steven Skinner is VP, Retail and Consumer Goods Business Consulting, Cognizant
Ron Curry is AVP, Retail and Consumer Goods Practice, UK, Cognizant

'Mobile-The Biggest Opportunity In Multichannel Retail' will be one of the panel discussions and interactive Q & A Sessions at the Retail Bulletin's 3rd Multichannel Summit 2012, sponsored by eDigitalResearch. This panel will include speakers from Halfords,, o2 Telefónica and 2ergo.

The event was sold out this year so don’t miss out – register now and make a diary note to join your peers on February 1st 2012. Click here for full details and registration.

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