An increasing number of global consumers are shopping on smartphones, on online marketplaces and internationally, a new study finds.
Smartphone shopping has increased across all regions since 2015, according to “The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper” global study by the United Parcel Service and comScore Inc., which evaluated consumer shopping habits from browsing before purchasing to post-delivery of more than 18,000 online shoppers worldwide in Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2017. The U.S. data was previously published in the 2017 “U.S. Pulse of the Online Shopper” study.
77% of shoppers in Asia placed an online purchase on a smartphone in 2017—the highest percentage of any region globally—up from 55% in 2015. When compared with other regions, only 48% of U.S. shoppers made an online purchase on their smartphone, up from 41% in 2015; 57% did in Mexico, up from 39%; 43% in Europe, up from 28%; and 42% in Canada, with no 2015 data to compare.
Consumers in Asia used their smartphones the most of any other region while shopping in store. The top three reasons for in-store smartphone usage in Asia was to look up product reviews (90%), read product details (90%) and compare prices at other online or physical stores (89%)—compared with 70% of U.S. shoppers using their smartphones in store to check those three items.
Other reasons consumers said they would use their mobile device in store include to search for a different online retailer; search for specific products and possible alternatives to those products; access coupon sites or apps for in-store redemption; or to take advantage of a promotion received on a mobile device while shopping.
The 2017 U.S. study noted that 97% of U.S. consumers who shop online do so on marketplaces, which was up from 85% in 2016. Of those U.S. marketplace shoppers, 90% surveyed said they shop on Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, up from 70% the previous year.
Meanwhile, across the globe, 99% of shoppers in Mexico and 98% of online shoppers in Asia have made an online marketplace purchase, along with 96% of shoppers in Canada and Europe, according to the 2018 global study.
The top reason for shopping on an online marketplace rather than a retailer was better prices, consumers across all regions said. Other top reasons included free or discounted shipping and a broader selection across any given category.
The prevalence of online marketplaces also has helped online shoppers embrace international retailers. Consumers in Canada shopped internationally at the highest percentage with 83% having made an online purchase from an international retailer. But only 55% of online shoppers in Asia and 47% in the U.S. have made an international purchase.
Consumers said the top reasons they sought out an international purchase was: “I found a lower price at an international retailer on a regional marketplace,” “I want something unique not found in a regional store,” “The brands or products I like are not available regionally” and “The price is better internationally.”
Looking forward, 37% of shoppers in Asia said they intend to make more purchases on marketplaces, while 30% of survey respondents from the previously published 2017 U.S. study said they’ll purchase more products on marketplaces and 29% said they will research on marketplaces more.
“The research shows time and again that, as online shoppers gain the benefit of greater choice, they are increasingly dictating the terms of their buying experience,” said Sylvie Van den Kerkhof, vice president of marketing, UPS Asia Pacific. “And it is vital that retailers know how to cater to and adapt to their changing needs.”