NEW YORK: Consumers around the world appreciate the possibilities that new technology and data analytics offer, but they also value shopping as an experience and not just as a transaction, according to a new report.

The Truth About Shopping study from McCann Truth Central, McCann Worldgroup's consumer intelligence unit, explored global consumer attitudes and behaviour related to all areas of shopping and was based on a survey of over 10,000 people in 11 countries (Brazil, Chile, China, France, India, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, the UEA, the UK and the USA).

This found that 84% of people globally were aware that companies tracked the websites they visited in order to recommend products they might like and two thirds (65%) were happy to share data if they could see the benefit to them.

This raised new concerns, however, as over half of respondents (52%) thought shopping had become too impersonal as algorithms increasingly directed their purchases. And a similar proportion (57%) worried they would discover fewer new things if companies always were only showing them the sort of items they were already looking for.

Therein lay the McCann's 'truth' about shopping – the need to balance the science of shopping as supplied by big data and the art of shopping as experienced by consumers in the real world

Laura Simpson, global director, McCann Truth Central, saw this as an opportunity for sellers, as she noted that two thirds of shoppers were looking to be inspired while they were shopping. "They want the very human and personal touch amidst a wave of algorithm-based personalisation," she said.

But consumers often exhibited contradictory views on tech-related issues. For example, 71% were concerned about how much online stores knew about them (although this was lowest in the US, at 58%), but at the same time 59% would be open to a store that was able to recognise them as they walked through the door.

Mobile is set to play an increasingly important role in the shopping experience in the future. The study found that those among consumers who had shopped on their mobiles in the past six months, 49% could see themselves shopping exclusively on their mobile in the future.

Even if they weren't actively buying via mobile they were likely to be window-shopping, as 70% of respondents said mobiles were good for browsing but not for buying, a perception that was highest in Mexico and the USA.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff