Mobile shopping beginning to mature: BuzzCity
By Gabey Goh July 23, 2014
- In APAC markets, 32% now shop via their mobiles compared with 21% on PCs
- Largest category under ‘Others’ is adult products, especially in India and Indonesia
AS mobile shopping continues its rise in Asia, new research points to the growing maturity of the industry in the region.
A new report from BuzzCity, commissioned by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) showed that Electronics (23%), Books (17%) and Clothing (19%) continue to lead in terms of the most popular shopping categories.
Most notably, the 'Others' has shown considerable growth from 9% to 15% in 2014, suggesting the presence of a larger variety of online stores (see chart below).
Manish Mishra, vice president of sales at BuzzCity, said that the largest segment under the Others category across emerging markets was adult products.
“Interestingly, two of the largest markets are India and Indonesia. This could be attributed to the fact that these are conservative cultures where buying such products out in the open is not commonplace,” he told a recent press briefing on the report’s findings in Kuala Lumpur.
According to the report, more people than ever before are shopping online and on their mobile devices, with nearly half of mobile users (48%) making purchases online regularly.
In addition, nearly one in five browse products online before buying in stores. Taken together, the figures suggest that more than 70% of mobile consumers shop online.
In some countries, mobile has become the most dominant shopping channel. This is highly apparent in the Asia Pacific region where a marginally higher proportion of surfers (71%) shop online, as more of the population turns to mobiles as their primary device.
In Asia Pacific markets, 32% now shop via their mobiles compared with 21% via their PCs, while 30% would at least consider using mobiles for their shopping.
A third (32%) shop with their mobiles compared with a fifth (21%) with PCs in the region. In Malaysia, 42% ship with their mobile compared with 17% via their PCs.
The mobile empowered consumer is highly informed and is close to a purchasing decision by the time he/she arrives at a shop, according to the BuzzCity report.
Retailers that are most likely to fail are those who do not recognise the connected consumer who checks availability and prices before buying at the stores (24%).
These consumers remain connected while they shop, checking prices to get better prices elsewhere (20%), checking product reviews (16%) and seeking advice from friends and family (19%).
These consumers can get information from their phone faster than from a shop assistant (22%) and feel better connected to product information than shop assistants (15%).
Further growth in mobile is expected as nearly one in three (30%) of those surveyed said that they would consider using their mobiles for shopping.
However, the explosive rise of mobile as a shopping channel appears to have caught many retailers off guard.
The survey records that more people are leaving stores without making a purchase for a variety of reasons. At least 22% left stores for a better deal online in 2014 compared with 13% last year, and 27% could not find what they wanted in stores compared with 14% in 2013 (see chart below).
Overall, fewer customers are engaging with shop assistants and consequently not making it to the tills, which should signal strong alarm bells for retailers.
MMA Asia Pacific managing director Rohit Dadwal said that mobile as a channel has evolved very quickly.
“But the challenge for marketers is to create a seamless shopping experience across all the channels to ensure that consumers are getting a consistent brand message and identity,” he said.
Meanwhiile, BuzzCity’s Manish (pic) said that it is increasingly important for companies to maintain online messaging initatives to influence the decision-making process.
This includes search engine optimisation efforts, ensuring adequate product information is available, and outreach efforts via electronic direct mailers and other electronic channels.
“To make it more profitable, online retail should be easy to engage in for consumers. Marketers need to ensure that their digital platforms are always up to date with the latest information, and are also optimised acrossed devices from feature phones and smartphones to tablets and PC,” he said.
In addition, Manish said that issues raised by survey respondents on their hesitation to embrace mobile for their shopping offer a great opportunity for e-commerce and retail players.
According to the report, 26% of mobile surfers are not likely to shop on mobile. Among this group, a third (33%) prefer the experience of shopping in-store and another third (32%) do not have a debit or credit card for online transactions.
Issues such as security concerns (19%) and unreliable connections (14%) remain significant hurdles in online shopping.
“This presents an opportunity for alternate payment systems based on mobile money. In addition, it is an opportunity for people in the e-commerce and m-commerce ecosystem to improve and increase the volume of sales online,” said Manish.
The survey was conducted in April and May 2014 amongst 3,590 respondents from 26 countries, including 1,920 respondents from 11 Asia Pacific markets. Malaysian respondents made up one-third of that figure.
To access the full report [PDF document], click here.