News

Study: Shoppers drawn to smart devices stay abreast of security

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A majority of Americans want to use connected devices to make purchases, yet they are keeping a keen eye on securing personal data.

This was according to a new study, “How We Will Pay,” from Visa and pymnts.com. The study was conducted among approximately 2,600 smartphone users aged 18 and older within the United States in May 2017. According to the study, 75% of consumers already have at least one connected device, in addition to their smartphones, computers or tablets. Yet, connected device ownership is on the rise.

The average consumer owns 4.4 connected devices, including game consoles (47%), activity trackers (41%), smartwatches (15%), voice-controlled assistants (14%), connected thermostats (9%) and virtual reality headsets (7%). Additionally, connected consumers make more purchases across more product categories than those with just one connected device. The apparel and footwear categories lead the way.

In 11 out of 19 product categories ranging from healthcare to accessories to food, 50% or more of the consumers studied made online purchases through a device within a week of the study. The top three categories included travel services, household repair and entertainment.

Eighty three percent (83%) of shoppers recognize IoT devices save them time and reduce friction when making purchases — subsequently creating an unattended checkout experience, regardless of device or platform. Within this seamless purchase experience, usage of auto-pay at the pump and in-store top the list (40%).

Despite the speed and convenience provided by connected devices, consumers still place high value on trust and security. Importantly, the more connected a consumer is, the greater their concern is about their financial safety. Their top concerns: data privacy, (more than 75%), and order verification and accuracy (69%).

Respondents also place a greater trust in banks and networks to enable payment via connected devices. Over 65% cited card issuers and bank card networks as the institutions they trust most to enable those experiences. This was over retail channels, social networks and mobile device manufacturers, the study revealed.

“The category of payment-enabled devices is still in very early days, yet this research shows just how much consumer interest and understanding is starting to build for what these experiences can offer,” said Jim McCarthy, executive VP, innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa. “As we work with our banking partners to make it easier to put payment credentials onto devices, a few new consumer use cases will inevitably break-through and start to really change the game.”

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

J.C. Penney concept targets collegiates

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

J.C. Penney is determined to become college-bound co-eds’ shopping destination for all of their dorm room needs.

The department store retailer is launching its “dorm shops” in 500 stores this week. The 400-sq.-ft. destinations feature a curated selection of bedding, bath and décor products. Rounding out its assortment of dorm essentials, J.C. Penney also offers mini refrigerators, microwaves, portable air conditioning units, and expanded storage solutions. Later this month, the chain will also feature Packard Bell laptops.

All merchandise is also available online. Since many stores are located within 5 miles of most major colleges, J.C. Penney hopes to make move-in day even easier by enabling shoppers to ship their orders to a store located near campus, according to the retailer.

“The National Retail Federation estimates that parents and students will spend more than $6 billion on dorm furnishings this summer, “ said John Tighe, executive VP and chief merchant for J.C. Penney. “J.C. Penney is focused on driving performance and capturing a significant share of this business by expanding the breadth of our dorm offerings to include new categories, such as microwaves and compact refrigerators, conveniently available in stores and online.”

He added, “Customers come to us specifically for our expertly designed and quality-sourced private brands, including J.C. Penney Home, Home Expressions and Cooks, allowing us to increase gross margin potential, while providing exceptional value for budget-minded shoppers.”

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FINANCE

The top emerging global retail markets are….

BY Marianne Wilson

India tops an annual list of the 30 top developing countries for retail investment, pushing China, which took the No. 1 spot for the past several years, into second place.

The report, A.T. Kearney's Global Retail Development Index, cites India’s strong GDP growth and growing middle class, coupled with a more favorable regulatory environment over the past few years. It notes that India's retail sector has been growing at an annual rate of 20%. Total sales surpassed the $1 trillion mark last year and the sector is expected to double in size by 2020.

The 2017 GRDI, titled “The Age of Focus,” ranks China in second place. Despite the country's slower overall economic growth, the market’s size and the continued evolution of retail still make China one of the most attractive markets for retail investment. Even as macroeconomic growth slowed to 6.7% in China in 2016, retail was a bright spot and grew at 10.4%. This trend will continue, with retail sales growth expected to contribute more than 70% of the country’s economic growth in 2017. (The top 10 countries from the report are listed at end of article.)

The annual study, now in its 16th edition, finds global retailers facing high uncertainty amid a changing geopolitical environment and increasing nationalist sentiments expressed by Brexit and America First.

Faced with intensifying competition from local and regional retailers that have grown increasingly more sophisticated, and advancements in retail technology and e-commerce, retailers are being forced to pause and rethink their strategies. As a result, the past year has seen fewer retailers entering new markets or expanding within existing markets, as well as many retailers examining their footprints and logistics network to reduce store counts or exit markets altogether.

"The 2017 GRDI is all about the geopolitical scene and how it affects business,” said Hana Ben-Shabat, an A.T. Kearney partner and a co-author of the study. “Retailers are thinking twice about expansion into places where there is uncertainty about future government actions or high political risk.”

Among the report’s key findings:

• In terms of both size and momentum, Asia is the driving force behind global retail and the expansion of branded food and beverage, personal care products, apparel, fashion, and luxury.

• North Africa is making a comeback with the Arab Spring in the rearview mirror, while the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, specifically the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, is developing new ideas for growth.

• Sub-Saharan Africa keeps growing and South America’s Andes markets continue to impress.

• Russia and other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States are still battling with sluggish growth.

GRDI ranks the top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide, analyzing 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables to help retailers devise successful global strategies to identify emerging market investment opportunities. The study identifies the markets that are most attractive today, and also those that offer future potential.

Here are the top 10 countries from the 2017 GRDI:

1. India

2. China

3. Malaysia

4. Turkey

5. United Arab Emirates

6. Vietnam

7. Morocco

8. Indonesia

9. Peru

10. Colombia

Click here to read the full 2017 GRDI report.

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