The rapid uptake of mobile and the increasing influence of social networks are driving a major change in the behaviour of today’s shoppers, facilitating the arrival of a new retail era, where consumers are using technology and expecting even more innovation from retailers. In an attempt to find out more about this transformation, the IBM Institute for Business Value approached 30,554 consumers across 16 countries to analyse their omni-channel expectations, presenting the findings in its Global Consumer Study.
The research found that nearly six out of ten (59%) global shoppers consider friends’ social media posts to have a direct impact on their purchasing decisions. A similar proportion (57%) said that when contemplating a purchase, they take into account friends’ posts about retailers they have shopped with. Emailed sales announcements from retailers influence the choices of 52% of global consumers, while 51% feel encouraged to buy when confronted with sales campaigns from retailers on social media.
Other purchase behaviour “influencers” outlined in the study include recommendations posted by retailers on their own website (44%) and similar recommendations made on social networks (41%).
The increasing shift online by consumers and their growing omni-channel presence is highlighted by the decline in in-store purchases made by customers. The research found that the share of consumers who last shopped in a physical outlet dropped to 72% in 2013, from 85% the previous year. This is a direct result of shoppers’ bias towards online channels, which expanded its share to 27% of shoppers in 2013, from 14% in 2012.