'Indian consumers increasingly using mobiles for product info'
New Delhi: Indian shoppers are increasingly using their mobiles to look for information regarding products, with almost 40 percent preferring their handheld devices to a sales assistant in a store, a study by global market insight and information group TNS has revealed.
According to TNS's 2013 annual Mobile Life study, 42 percent consumers in India seek advice from friends and family while shopping, while checking product reviews on social media stands at a mere 2.4 percent.
Mobile Life is a global study, which draws on behaviours, motivations and priorities of 38,000 mobile users. The study was conducted across 43 countries between November 20, 2012 and February 4, 2013.
"Having knowledgeable sales staff on hand is no guarantee of success, with two-fifth (39.7 percent) consumers in India preferring to access information on their phone than speak to a sales assistant in store, compared to almost a third of people globally," the study said.
However, the study added that reading reviews or checking social media while in a store to inform their decision making by consumers stands at 2.4 percent in India compared to 16 percent globally.
"42 percent Indian consumers prefer asking friends and family what they would recommend buying. This is in line with 49 percent in emerging Asian markets and much higher when compared to such consumers globally (25 percent)," it added.
Another interesting point which the study revealed is that mobiles can play a valuable role in reducing the risk that 'showrooming' poses to retailers.
Showrooming refers to a phenomenon where consumers visit stores only to test products, but buy them later elsewhere.
Showrooming has emerged as a significant threat to the high street in recent years, with one-third of mobile users globally admitting to such behaviour, it added.
"Among those who showroom, two-thirds use their phone whilst doing so, providing a major opportunity for brands to interact with consumers via mobile and turn browsers into buyers," the study said.
The study shows that people are open to engaging with brands while in a store, with 11 percent of smartphone owners in India keen to receive mobile coupons while shopping and 14 percent interested in apps that help them navigate the store they are in compared to one-fifth globally.
10 percent of consumers in India are interested in a 'virtual sales assistant', compared to 13 percent consumers globally, who will help answer their questions in-store about a particular product.
"This openness to interacting does present a real opportunity for brands that get their mobile strategy right, to engage meaningfully with people at the point when they are considering a purchase," the study added.