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Smartphones retailers’ strongest allies

Beirut, December 23, 2012

Smartphones may be among retailers’ strongest allies this holiday season in the US, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday survey of consumer spending intentions and trends.

About 50 per cent of customers surveyed own smartphones, and nearly 7 in 10 (68 per cent) plan to use their phones for holiday shopping this year. These shoppers will primarily use their devices to get store locations (62 per cent), check and compare prices (58 per cent) and obtain product information (50 per cent).

Smartphone-toting holiday shoppers may also be highly valuable to retailers this season. These customers are expected to shell out 72 per cent more than those who do not plan to use smartphones, spending a total $1,428 on the holidays across categories including gifts, entertaining at home, socialising away from home, non-gift clothing, home/holiday furnishings and other holiday spending.

“We anticipate that retailers will increasingly interact with mobile shoppers this holiday season,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte, and retail & distribution sector leader. “Deloitte’s research into smartphones’ influence on in-store sales indicates that the conversion rate for shoppers who use a retailer’s dedicated mobile application is 21 per cent higher than those who do not.”

“This holiday season, branded applications, Wi-Fi connectivity and personalised, location-based promotions from retailers can enable shoppers to make an immediate buying decision in the store.”

This year, Deloitte anticipates that in-store sales influenced by consumers’ smartphone use will account for $36 billion, or 5.1 per cent of total holiday retail store sales.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of customers surveyed plan to shop online for holiday gifts. Many shoppers will head to the web to strike a deal, but also to become more informed about the purchases they are making, the survey showed.

More than half of the survey respondents (55 per cent) indicate they often read online reviews before buying holiday merchandise online, and nearly 3 in 10 (28 per cent) say they will rely on reviews more this year than last year.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of the shoppers surveyed will make social media part of their holiday shopping process. Among this group, more than half will tap into social networks to look for discounts (54 per cent) and research gift ideas (53 per cent), while 47 per cent plan to read reviews.

When shopping online, 47 per cent of consumers surveyed indicate that low prices are most important when shopping at a particular retailer. Online shoppers surveyed also expect some free perks - more than 7 in 10 (71 per cent) shoppers surveyed say they are more likely to shop online from retailers who offer free shipping, and 56 per cent say the same about retailers who offer free returns.

Customers indicate that service with a smile – and even a scanner – counts when shopping in the store. Nearly 6 in 10 (56 per cent) shoppers surveyed say they are more likely to purchase from a store retailer that has knowledgeable sales associates. Additionally, 4 in 10 (38 per cent) consumers expect store associates to have the ability to match prices.

Customers may be most inclined to rely on sales associates when shopping for technology. Four out of ten (43 per cent) consumers surveyed indicate that during the holidays, they are more likely to seek help from store associates in electronics or office supply stores, followed by traditional department stores (26 per cent) and discount stores (22 per cent).

“The store continues to be central to holiday shopping, but its role and that of the store associate is evolving as the physical and virtual shopping experiences merge,” Paul said. “Associates should be more informed and empowered than in the past; they should have the ability to make price-matching decisions on the spot, and be well-versed on promotions and products that customers are viewing via the retailer’s mobile and online channels.”

The survey showed that customers are showing an interest in store technologies that make shopping easier. More than one-quarter (27 per cent) of the shoppers surveyed indicate they are more likely to shop retailers that offer barcode scanners in the aisles to confirm prices and features. Approximately 1 in 5 seek retailers that offer to ship to their homes (22 per cent) and provide self-service or mobile checkout (19 per cent).

Customers are expected to rely on a blend of traditional and digital information sources as they track down information about the holidays this year, according to Deloitte’s survey.

More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of customers surveyed expect to find out about the products they purchase this holiday season through combined online, social media and mobile formats, compared to 60 per cent who will rely on traditional media such as radio, television and newspapers. Nearly the same amount (57 per cent) expects to learn about products this holiday season through friends and family. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: lebanon | Shopping | Beirut | Smartphones |

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