A.T. Kearney study explores motivators of consumers’ online behavior

Chicago -- The growing importance of the multichannel shopping experience is highlighted in a new study by A.T. Kearney. The report, "Connected Consumers Are Not Created Equal: A Global Perspective," is focused on better understanding today's connected consumers.
 According to the study, the vast majority (90%) of purchases today are made in physical stores, and of people who buy 'online,'  50% of the sales go through online sites run by retailers with physical stores.  For those consumers that buy something exclusively online, chances are (67%) of them will go to a physical store to discover, test, taste or get their friends to weigh in on the decision.
For those consumers that buy something exclusively online, chances are (67%) these consumers will go to a physical store to discover, test, taste or get their friends to weigh in on the decision.
 “The key point is that the debate should not be a question of digital vs. physical,” said Mike Moriarty, A.T. Kearney partner and study co-author. “Successful retailers understand how each customer touch point adds value in the eyes of customers, and they develop omnichannel strategies that maximize customer satisfaction and profitability."
When asked what products they shop for online, respondents identify a wide array of items, indicating e-commerce's evolution and its geographical differences. Clothing, electronics, books, music, and services rate highly, but bigger-ticket items such as home appliances and furnishings also rate high.  
The research found that there are four important motivations for connected consumers across the globe:
Interpersonal connection – 73%  of participants said that connecting with other people is a key motivation for going online. 
Exploration – Globally, 95% of respondents agree that the need to find and learn new things is a primary motivator for going online.
Self-expression – Sharing opinions with others through the Internet is particularly strong in emerging markets and places where offline self-expression is limited.
Convenience – Means different things—for some it is sports and movies, for others it is home delivery
Forty-six percent of respondents say social networks are the biggest draw for their time online, but there are big differences. In Brazil, Nigeria, India, and Russia people spend more time on social networks than any other activity; in the United States, Germany, and Japan social networks are not a main focus of online activity.
"The need for connection, self-expression, exploration, and convenience has changed the roles that brands and retailers play, noted  Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “To be successful, brands and retailers must address these needs by building communities, entertaining, and educating consumers and maintaining an ongoing dialogue."
In mature markets, only a few consumers say that they respond to banner ads or pop-ups (in the U.S. only 7%  say they click on banners or advertisements). However, a high percentage of consumers in South Africa, Brazil, India, China and Nigeria are open to online ads and are willing to check out the offers behind them. 
The influence of social media on consumption varies dramatically by country and by age. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of connected consumers in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan say they rarely or never consider social media chatter when thinking about products, services, or brands to buy. 
 However, the majority of consumers in China, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Nigeria will use social network feedback in shopping. Chinese consumers value social media commentary: almost 95% say they occasionally or frequently use social networks to evaluate products, services, or brands.

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