Mobile phones used by 31% online shoppers to save time, effort: study

Of the total number of consumers browsing for products, 79% preferred to buy on a mobile devices compared to 9% on PCs/laptops and 12% in a physical store

Gouri Shah
Updated21 May 2016
31% of online shoppers listed &#8216;saving time or effort&#8217; as their main reason for shopping online. <br />
31% of online shoppers listed &#8216;saving time or effort&#8217; as their main reason for shopping online.

Mumbai: The ubiquitous mobile phone is slowly but surely becoming the medium of choice for online shopping as it helps consumers save a lot of time and effort, and also allows them to shop anytime and anywhere, according to the findings of a study by Yahoo India and Mindshare released on Thursday.

The study titled ‘Mobile Consumer Journey—2016’, which was conducted across India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, used both qualitative as well as quantitative analysis.

The study was conducted across 1,200 respondents in India, and focuses on analysing consumer shopping behaviour across devices for 31 different categories, including travel, electronic devices and consumer packaged goods.

The findings drew attention to the dominant play of mobile devices in the consumer’s purchase decisions, and in the consumer’s purchase journey. The study covered everything from how the device gets used in different stages, key drivers and barriers to the final purchase decision, consumers’ preferences on how and where to buy, top selling categories on mobiles, and cities that see the most mobile transactions.

Of the total number of consumers browsing for products on mobiles, 79% preferred to buy on a mobile devices compared to 9% on PCs/laptops and 12% in a physical store.

“The e-commerce landscape in India is perhaps the most dynamic in the world, largely due to the rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem. This research highlights the role of mobile from the top of the funnel to the bottom and how it varies across product categories. It will help us develop sharper, more connected communication strategies for brands,” said M.A. Parthasarathy, chief product officer, Mindshare-South Asia, a global media and marketing services company from the WPP Group.

Francis Che, head of insights, APAC, Yahoo, maintained that the consumer’s path to purchase was turning more complex and non-linear, with mobiles at the centre. “As mobile devices become more important in the consumer’s purchase decision, brands need to build targeted, more seamless shopping experiences across all channels to strengthen sales and acquire new customers,” Che said.

The study showed that consumers preferred online transactions for certain categories on the phone, as it saved time and allowed them access to discounts and promotions, especially for travel, music and movies.

To be sure, 31% of online shoppers listed “saving time or effort” as their main reason for shopping online. Attractive discounts and promotions was another key driver as stated by 28% of online shoppers, while 21% of the respondents maintained that the convenience to shop anywhere, anytime was a big draw.

However, some of the barriers that kept them away from shopping online include non-authentic goods, unreliable delivery and lack of quality control. This was noticeable especially in categories such as luxury goods, where people preferred to make big-ticket purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, as opposed to online.

A city-wise break-up for mobile transactions showed that 75% online shoppers in Kolkata were open to mobile transactions, followed by Chennai with 64% and Delhi with 57%. Surprisingly, online shoppers in metros such as Mumbai and Bangalore seem more “cautiously open”, with less than 35% of them preferring mobile transactions over other modes of payment.

“One would have imagined that consumers in cities such as Bangalore and Mumbai—which have reputations for being technology centres—would have exhibited more openness when it came to online transactions. However, it is interesting to see that consumers in smaller cities are more willing to buy online. This may also be a function of the fact that smaller cities have less access to variety. E-commerce sites offer them that easy access,” said Parthasarathy, adding that this was amply demonstrated in the fact that smaller cities were fuelling growth for e-commerce companies in India.

The willingness to buy on mobile was driven by the category of product being reviewed. For instance, categories in the high-growth quadrant—ranked by number of consumers buying them on mobile over other modes—included apparel, electronic devices, baby and pet care products. Users are less likely to buy financial services products, technology and consumer electronics on mobile as they see these as more complex purchase decisions.

Over 90% of the consumers use mobile devices for quick and frequent purchases in segments such as travel, music and movies. Thirty-six percent consumers prefer buying high-consideration products like insurance on their personal computers or laptop, while 24% consumers prefer buying health supplements on personal computers and laptops.

Categories with significant in-store purchases included personal hygiene (30%) and luxury goods and accessories (27%). “Online shoppers are more likely to use their mobile device to make regular or impulse purchases rather than expensive, high consideration purchases. You can see this in high-end categories such as luxury goods, where consumers still prefer to buy from a physical store. They are concerned about quality and originality of goods. Which is why you can already see major e-commerce players whether it is or address this issue in their advertising campaigns, promising 100% genuine articles,” said Parthasarathy.

He said that brands had a big window of opportunity—from creating awareness to the final purchase decision—to connect and engage with their target audiences on mobile devices.

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