This year, over 23,000 online shoppers in 25 different territories participated in our 2016 Total Retail Survey, which asks consumers about the world about issues ranging from mobile shopping to social media influence to innovation at retailers.
It unveils eight insights of the next retail revolution:
- To understand future global shopping behavior, look to China - Not only does our Total Retail survey data illustrate a continuing willingness on the part of Chinese consumers to become early adopters of cutting-edge shopping habits such as mobile buying but, in conjunction with our studies from previous years, it suggests that Chinese shopping behavior is a leading indicator for global shopping behaviors.
- We may live in the age of value-but price is still king - We found that affordability is, indeed, a major driver for shopping behavior around the world, across income bands and across national borders.
- Store traffic doesn't matter as much as overall customer conversion across channels - Shoppers clearly prefer to research online, such as in consumer electronics and computers, household appliances, and clothing and footwear, many still like to go to a store to buy the product. Take consumer electronics and computers, for example. Just 29% of our global sample prefers to do their research in a physical store, but 52% prefer to purchase in a physical store.
- Retail talent (finally) matters - Our research data indicates that the changing role of the store, soaring customer expectations, and the desire to support local businesses could put a real premium on retail employee talent.
- Mobile devices have turned the corner as purchasing tools - The best overall illustration of this march toward mobile comes by looking back several years to see how respondents have answered the question, "How often do you buy products using the following shopping channels?" result shows that in the category of mobile/smart phone, the biggest change has been in the "Never" response, which has plummeted from 70% to 46% of our global sample.
- Today's consumers look to community - There are innovative ways for retailers to create community through loyalty programs.
- Social media is the "great influencer" - While social media is still in its nascent stages as a driver of online purchasing, its growth in both pure social-driven retail sales and referral traffic is undeniable, outpacing all other online channels. Our Total Retail survey research in 2015 appears to be a turning point. This year, 78% of our global sample was influenced in some way by social media, up from 68% in our previous study.
- There is room for retailers to grab the "leading innovator" mantle - Possibly, consumers are setting the bar extremely high for social media innovation, in which case retailers simply have more room to improve.