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IBM’s 2012 Retail Survey Reveals Dramatic Surge in Using Mobiles to Shop in UK

Mobile Devices now Integral to Retail - for promotion, price comparison and purchase

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London, UK - 19 Sep 2012: IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today the UK results of its 2012 Smarter Consumer Study which revealed that consumer desire for using mobile devices while shopping more than doubled (138%) within the past year. The survey looked at consumer purchasing trends and shopping habits of 1,800 UK consumers.

Shoppers now demand a more personalised, convenient and budget-friendly shopping experience with the aid of mobile technology. In the UK

 39 percent want to use mobiles to receive personalised promotions.

 42 percent want to use mobiles to seek out lower prices, and 44 percent to seek out promotions.

 52 percent want to use mobiles to checkout, and 42 percent to locate products in-store.

“Shoppers are keen to use their mobiles to scan products, check prices and receive previously scanned product promotions sent direct to their device. Mobile technology is set to change the 4Ps of marketing - product, price, place, promotion – as ‘personalisation’ becomes key.” says Martin Butler, Retail Industry Leader, IBM UK & Ireland.

“Retailers need to invest in delivering a personalised shopping experience across all types of contact methods in order to offer the right kinds of promotions, at the right time via the right delivery method.”

The Influence of Digital Devices

The survey also found that consumers believe social media and online sources should be a fully integrated part of the shopping experience.

In the UK, 39 percent of consumers rely on the websites for comparative shopping. However, participants still value the ‘touch and feel’ aspects of a store, with 83 percent saying that they prefer to research online prior to browsing for a product during an in-store visit.

In addition, social shopping has become more increasingly popular in the UK, as well as around the world. Consumers seek and accept shopping advice from peers, family, friends and even strangers. 

The study found that 82 percent of UK consumers say that social networks save them time in making a retail purchase. In this era of connectivity and collaboration, consumers know almost everything about every product, every brand and ultimately decide which retailers have earned the consumer’s trust.

In fact, consumers are now, more than ever, willing to share personal information with retailers so that services can be tailored to their individual preferences, location and lifestyle.

For instance, global survey participants cited that they would be willing to share information about their media usage (75 percent), demographics (73 percent), identification, like name and address (61 percent), lifestyle (59 percent) and location (56 percent) just to ensure more personalised services.

In response to the above findings, IBM has recently announced a new mobile scanning technology. Martin Butler will also be holding a session on the above issues at the upcoming World Retail Congress.

Further information is available here:

Survey Methodology

Now in its third year, the IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV) surveyed more than 28,000 consumers around the world to understand how they make purchasing decisions, what influences spending, and how technology plays a role in today’s shopping experience.

With the influx of online data and conversations, retailers must now focus their efforts on tailoring their marketing strategies to the needs of online communities on which consumer trust is built. IBM Retail Analytics solutions equip retailers with the right tools to foster deeper brand relationships and create brand advocates, while simultaneously developing an evolving strategy.

This year the IBV partnered with the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy, a university that runs a well-respected retail management programme.

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