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February 25, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 12:40pm

Do retailers underestimate the impact of digital technology?

News: Deloitte survey finds digital devices impact in-store shopping behaviors across the world.

By CBR Staff Writer

A new report from Deloitte has revealed that global retailers may be dramatically underestimating the impact of digital technology on their businesses.

The report identifies the digital choices of worldwide consumers, with a particular focus about how the use of tech devices impacts in-store shopping behavior.

Deloitte surveyed over 2,000 consumers in each of nine key global retail markets such as the UK, US, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

The company found that there is no single path towards digital adoption, one digital size does not fit all consumers, who are demanding different digital tools and features to carry out their own shopping journeys.

According to the report, 49% of in-store (offline) sales in the US were impacted by digital device usage and the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK have high digital and mobile usage rates with paradoxically lower levels of digital influence on in-store shopping.

In India, smartphones accounted for 85% of the digital influence, indicating that few consumers in the country are using devices like desktop computers or tablets to pre-shop their store visits.

About 36% of connected consumers in China use social media during the browse/research phase and 50% use it to get validation for purchases from their personal networks.

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Globally, consumers are still in the early stages of embracing the concept of buy online, pick up in store and the approach will become more popular, with more options, in the future.

Deloitte Consulting principal and the report’s lead author Kasey Lobaugh said: "The research suggests that there is already a gap between consumers’ digital behaviors and expectations, and retailers’ ability to deliver the desired experiences.

"We refer to this gap as ‘the new digital divide,’ and it poses a critical challenge to retailers. In order to stay relevant in today’s marketplace, retailers must understand the evolving digital needs of their customers and improve their ability to anticipate and shape the needs of tomorrow."

The study suggests that while there are cultural and economic differences between the countries, all of those markets are aligned and rapidly heading down a same path.

The report concludes that retailers who fail to get ahead of the trends may experience real threats to their long-term success.

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