Smartphone mobile

Retailers need to capitalise on sales by thinking outside the confines of stores and retail websites.

According to Savvy, the shopper marketing agency, the mass adoption of smartphones and social media, broader technological advancements and the rise of Generation Y as a group of shoppers have fundamentally reshaped the path to purchase.

The growing influence of tech-savvy Generation Y shoppers or “connected shoppers” is the main reason brands and retailers need to change the way they think. Savvy said that while this group currently represented about a third of shoppers, by 2022 they would account for 47% of shoppers.

Savvy conducted an online survey of 1,000 UK household shopping decision makers in March and April 2017.

It found that this group of Generation Y shoppers was constantly connected, with 80% saying they looked at their phones multiple times an hour. They were also highly active on social media, with 97% having access to social media in the past month. Almost all of them (95%) had used messaging services like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger while only 55% had read a printed newspaper during the past month.

Two-thirds (66%) said they regularly used their smartphones to buy products and nearly half (49%) regularly used their smartphones while in the supermarket.

While the research highlights a clear digital divide between younger and older consumers, overall 86% of all shoppers owned a smartphone, 70% a tablet and 86% accessed social media during a month. Three-fifths (61%) said they searched for a product using a search engine in the past month, while 56% searched for recipes or an idea of what to eat online during the past month. Forty-four per cent liked or followed a brand that they liked on social media in the past month.

In a typical month, 22% would buy a product as a result of seeing a social media post, while 20% said they would take advice about a product from bloggers or vloggers (rising to 34% among under-35s).

“The rapid rise of the connected shopper reflects the enormous influence technology now has in our lives as shoppers - digital media inspires us, is our go-to place for product research and, in many cases, is where we buy products,” said Alastair Lockhart, insight director at Savvy Marketing.

“We live in a digital world where brands and retailers have the ability to inspire shoppers at any time and any place. Likewise, shoppers are able to buy products at any time and any place. This provides a substantial sales opportunity.”

He said retailers had the opportunity to convert sales at the point at which shoppers were inspired.