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In-store shoppers still shop online

Four in 10 shoppers worldwide are using their mobile phones while shopping inside a store to compare prices or shop online.

Four in ten are contacting friends or family for advice.

Over a third take pictures of products they might buy.

GFk infographic 1 215

Those are the key findings of a survey of consumers in 23 countries, undertaken by research house GfK.

Online shoppers all know they have instant access to price comparisons at the very moment of making a purchase online – but there is a rapidly growing trend for consumers to shop online in ‘bricks and mortar’ stores.

GfK asked mobile phone users what activities they regularly do on their mobile phones while they are inside a store.

Tellingly, the fastest adapter to the trend are consumers aged 20 to 29: one in two compare prices online while in a shop. Consumers aged 15 to 19 and 30 to 39 are equal second at 45 per cent.

And surprisingly – men are more likely to compare prices in-store than women (42 per cent v 37 per cent).

Adrian Hobbs, MD of online pricing intelligence at GfK, says with significant numbers of shoppers being online while they are inside shops, bricks-and-mortar outlets need to respond.


“Having a close and real-time eye on the pricing of online competitors and reacting quickly are now key success factors for physical retailers, as well as online ones. This is especially true for retailers in regions such as Asia and South America, as consumers here are most active in using their mobiles while in a store,” he said.

Shoppers in South Korea, China and Turkey are the most likely to compare prices in-store on their mobile phones, with 59, 54 and 53 per cent respectively saying they regularly do this. Shoppers in Ukraine, South Africa and India are least likely to participate in this activity, standing at just 11, 15 and 17 per cent respectively.

Globally, men and women are almost equally likely to use their mobile phones inside a store to contact a friend or family member for advice (40 per cent of women and 39 per cent of men say they regularly do this). Young adults aged 20-29 lead on this activity at 48 per cent, while teens aged 15-19 follow closely (47 per cent) and those aged 30-39 trail at 40 per cent.

GfK says this shows word of mouth and advice from the shopper’s own circle is now present right at the very moment of making the purchase decision inside a store. Sales staff and the physical shopping experience face a significant new external influence in-store.

Shoppers in Japan, Indonesia and Germany are the least likely to consult family members – just 16, 21 and 24 per cent respectively.

Taking photographs of actual products they might buy is the third most popular activity shoppers use their mobiles for while inside a store.

Globally, teens (aged 15-19) and young adults (aged 20-29) are ahead of the curve on snapping photos inside a store (44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively), while the 30-39 year old shoppers follow at 39 per cent.

Looking at individual countries, shoppers in Mexico (49 per cent), China (49 per cent) and Turkey (47 per cent) are again the most likely to use their mobile phones whilst in a store – this time to take pictures of products that they might buy.

By comparison, this activity is still nascent in markets such as India (12 per cent), Ukraine (13 per cent) and Indonesia (16 per cent) – but GfK says this trend needs to be watched closely, as smartphone penetration increases in these markets.

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