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Key shifts in consumer behaviour

A survey commissioned by mobile app experience company Airship of more than 9,000 global consumers has exposed key shifts in consumer behaviour, with regional and generational differences that may indicate retail’s future.

Conducted in partnership with Sapio Research, the survey polled more than 9,000 consumers across major markets in Europe, America and Asia, and found UK consumers to be the most likely to do all their shopping online this holiday season. Compared with all other countries, the UK comes in on top at 20%, followed by India (18%) and the US (16%). Only 9% of Brits stated that they will do all their Christmas shopping in physical stores.

Globally, 48% of respondents expect to do three-quarters or more of their holiday shopping online, and 47% say that three-quarters or more of their online shopping will be done on their smartphones rather than on their desktops. In comparison, 51% of UK respondents expect online shopping to account for three-quarters or more of their holiday shopping, and nearly half (49%) that three-quarters or more of their online shopping will be done on smartphones rather than desktops.

The survey also highlights the rising usage of smartphones while shopping in-store. When visiting a shop, 72% of UK consumers are likely to use loyalty cards or coupons stored on their smartphones, while 69% said they would compare prices (ie, via Google or Amazon), visit the retailers’ website (69%), use the retailer’s app (65%), and check online reviews (63%).

For most countries and generations, the likelihood of using a retailer’s app while shopping in-store, is only a few percentage points behind visiting the retailer’s website, despite people having to first download them from the App Store or Google Play. Among UK consumers, 77% are using retail apps more or about the same since the pandemic began, which, among countries included, is only surpassed by Singapore and India at 79% each.

Overall, 81% of millennials have used retail apps more or about the same since the pandemic began, followed by 77% of Gen X, 74% of Gen Z and 66% of baby boomers. Generationally, millennials lead in likelihood to perform all of these in-store digital activities.

The survey was conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Airship in September 2021. Respondents included 9,143 consumers in seven countries who were asked a number of questions on their plans for online and physical retail shopping during the 2021 holiday season.

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