Consumers embrace digital tools

07 December 2011

LONDON: Consumers are using PCs, smartphones and tablets to engage in an increasingly wide range of entertainment-led and commercial activities, a new multimarket study has found.

KPMG, the consultancy, surveyed 9,600 people in 31 countries, and revealed 86% prefer surfing the web on a personal computer, falling to 8% for smartphones and 6% for tablets such as Apple's iPad.

When it came to the favoured channel for social networking, PCs had witnessed a decline from 94% in 2007 to 76% in 2011, as mobile saw an improvement from 3% to 16%. Tablets, included for the first time this year, posted 7%.

Looking at ecommerce, almost 70% of contributors were now more likely to buy flights and holidays online than in any other way, reaching 65% for physical CDs, DVDs, books and video games.

However, 47% of respondents displayed no interest in acquiring luxury goods via the same route, and 41% adopted this opinion when considering the food and grocery category.

While researching purchases, PCs were the number one option for 86% of shoppers, with mobile phones on 8% and tablets on 5%, figures largely replicated for actually completing transactions.

Turning specifically to mobile, 38% of participants had already used these devices in retail outlets to access coupons, and 20% had deployed their handset to scan a barcode.

"From buying goods on their mobile phones to keeping up with friends on social networks, consumers are increasingly reliant on a range of technologies that perform important - yet often overlapping - tasks," said Tudor Aw, of KPMG. "This new 'converged lifestyle' will have huge implication for retailers."

Elsewhere, 88% of interviewees had downloaded an app to their mobile, but 41% solely installed free tools - up from 36% in 2010 - and 39% had only paid for a quarter of the applications added to their device.

An additional 62% of the panel were either "very" or "somewhat" willing to be tracked online in return for cheaper or free content, a total that had increased from 58% in 2010 and 50% in 2008.

With regard to advertising, half of the sample expressed a willingness to view ads on a PC, but just 38% of those polled agreed with this statement when discussing mobile phones.

Indeed, a modest 6% of consumers would happily pay for full access to a website, measured against 16% in 2010. A further 73% would not pay for "any content" online, and 56% would look to another provider rather than doing so, KPMG said.

Data sourced from KPMG; additional content by Warc staff