We have curated eight pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding consumer sentiment towards mobile commerce. This included, but was not limited to, whether they use a mobile device while in a brick and mortar store, whether they use it to research a product, and whether they use it to do price comparisons. We also presented seven pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding the consumer use of QR codes/NFC/RFID, both in store and online. Additionally, eight pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding consumer sentiment towards mobile payments has been provided, and finally we located seven pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding how mobile is shaping the future of brick and mortar retail. All four projects are focused on the United States. When we could not locate U.S. data, we expanded globally.
Consumer Sentiment: Mobile Commerce
- Thirty-six percent of United States consumers prefer to use their smartphone or tablet to research a product and to make major new purchases, while fifteen percent revealed that they manage recurring orders directly using their smartphone or tablet.
- Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, suggests that COVID-19 has accelerated change in the retail sector “by two to four years.” This restructuring consists not only of ecommerce’s proliferation, but also the collapse of primarily brick and mortar enterprises, such as shopping malls. Other analysts agree, including CNBC Markets Editor Patti Domm, arguing that “the divide between online merchants and brick-and-mortar stores is growing,” ultimately claiming that the pandemic has expedited the inevitable move away from big-box retailers towards online shopping. Much of that online shopping is occurring on smartphones. They contribute greatly to the growth of m-commerce, even though they have traditionally not provided great conversion rates, mainly due to consumers having to check out on a small screen. Despite that pain point, United States volume is set to increase from $128.4 billion in 2019 to $418.9 billion through 2024.
- “According to the 2019 edition of the Remote Payments Study, nearly half of American consumers who own smartphones use them while shopping in stores.” What is interesting is how those shoppers were using those mobile devices while in the brick and mortar location. Almost 47% used them to access in-app discounts, 43.3% looked up product information, and about 33% used their smartphones to do something called “showrooming” which is just a term for researching a product to price compare at the store’s competition. However, these consumers didn’t rush to buy products from other stores immediately.
- When looking at the 2020 edition of the Remote Payments Study, a key finding was surrounding the American consumers’ use of mobile phones while in a brick and mortar store. This activity increased by 25.2 percentage points from 2019. “There has been a sharp increase in consumers’ mobile device usage to accommodate their in-store shopping. [The] research indicates that 72.1% of consumers were using mobile devices while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores in 2020, up from 46.9% last year and representing a 53.7% increase.”
- Using mobile shopping apps over the mobile browser is preferred by ninety-three percent of mobile consumers, according to Brizfeel research. In that same report, seventy-one percent of consumers reported that they have redeemed a mobile offer, and ninety-three percent of mobile consumers said they prefer to shop online using mobile shopping apps over the mobile browser.
- The most used platform for online shopping is mobile phones with almost half of consumers (49%) surveyed saying they preferred that method.
- According to the How We Shop report, about one quarter (25.4%) of consumers revealed that they were shopping online, and 16.3% percent asserted that they were doing so on mobile more than they were before COVID-19 caused lockdowns and shutdowns in the United States. “That’s not much of a change from the 22.1% and 16.7%, respectively, who reported similar sentiment in the survey at the beginning of March.”
- A new major consumer survey reveals that consumers want augmented reality (AR) for shopping, and they want it to be available on their mobile device. “Six percent of consumers surveyed said they wanted AR experiences via ads on a mobile device. This can be compared to 40% who said they wanted to experience AR through social media, and 21% who reported that they want to use Google to access AR in search results.”
Consumer Use of QR Codes/NFC/RFID
- For the purposes of this section of the research, quick response codes (QR codes) are defined “as a way to encourage attendee engagement, promote and support sponsors and vendors, and be part of an event’s gamification.” Near Field Communication (NFC) is defined as “alerts that are automatically generated and appear on mobile devices based on the proximity of a NFC reader and an enabled device, such as an attendees badge.” Radio frequency identification (RFID) is defined as using a “mobile devices electromagnetic spectrum to engage with other electromagnetic spectrums. RFID requires event attendees to be in close proximity to engage with RFID technology. RFID tags can be implemented into badges or other wearable technology and interact without the need of a mobile device.”
- More than one-third of consumers who prefer to pay using QR codes or POS credit say they are unlikely to buy from merchants that do not offer these options. “Research shows that consumers who prefer shopping with QR codes are among the most loyal users of all, for example: approximately 34% say they would not buy from merchants at all if QR code-enabled payments were unavailable.”
- Chip cards are now turning up everywhere in the United States, showing a high adoption rate among consumers. According to Square, almost three quarters of cards processed with them now contain a chip, which is a rise from approximately 40% in October 2019.
- “New research from Square that asked 1,000 consumers to gauge sentiment and appetite toward chip cards and NFC payments reveals some key findings.” Those asked ranked security as the most important element of paying with both chip cards and mobile payments, with 77% believing security concerns as a reason not to use RFC. However, that feeling is not really grounded in reality. NFC mobile payments use “sophisticated layers of security like tokenization and cryptograms to lock down bank details like no other method.” Citing convenience, security, speed, and utility as a backup wallet, consumers appear to love NFC, despite any security concerns some may have.
- MobileIron conducted research surrounding consumer sentiment when it comes to QR codes. “The September 2020 study revealed that QR codes are increasing in popularity and use. Sixty-four percent of consumers asserted that QR codes make life easier in a touchless world.” This finding, however, is at odds with the fact that many of those same people (51%) do not have (or simply do not know if they have) security software on their mobile device.
- Other key findings from the MobileIron report include: “Eighty-four percent of people have scanned a QR code before, with thirty-two percent most recently having scanned a QR code” in the week before the research was published, and “twenty-six percent most recently having scanned a QR code in the past month.” Further, “thirty-eight percent of respondents have scanned a QR code at a restaurant, bar or café; thirty-seven percent of respondents have scanned a QR code at a retailer; and thirty-two percent have scanned a QR code on a consumer product”, in the time period spanning April 2020 until now. Looking into the future, “fifty-three percent of those asked want to see QR codes used more broadly moving forward, forty-three percent of respondents plan to use a QR code as a payment method in the near future, and forty percent of people would vote using a QR code received in the mail”, if the option was offered to them.
- “Paypal allows American users to make transactions by scanning a QR Code.” Target, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Dollar General, CVS, and Walmart are examples of retailers that have a QR Code payment system installed for their customers.
Consumer Sentiment: Mobile Payments
- According to an August 2020 survey conducted by Money Crashers, more than half (52%) of those asked aren’t concerned about their personal data being exposed when using mobile payments. However, there is a smaller cohort of consumers (30%) that have decided not to download a payment app due to security concerns.
- For those consumers who say that they rely on their mobile devices to make their shopping experiences easier, the possibility of mobile proximity payments is a welcome eventuality. It is predicted that by 2022, “the number of proximity mobile payment transaction users in the United States will hit 74.9 million users.“
- While there are many consumers in the United States that are already familiar with mobile payments, sentiment towards the use of it vary widely. According to this source which references a survey done in February 2018, twenty-six percent of Samsung Pay users revealed that they strongly agreed with the possibility that mobile wallets could replace physical wallets in the near future. Juxtapose that with Apple Pay users, and only ten percent felt that way.
- “Although 59% of American respondents to this Transaction Network Services survey reported that they prefer the convenience of mobile payment apps, only 12% of consumers trust alternative payment providers to protect their payments, according to a separate survey done by the American Bankers Association.” According to Michael Bruemmer, Experian’s vice president of consumer protection, those worries are exaggerated. “The technology gets better and better every day. It’s not the technology that’s the problem, it’s the people that are not using the technology properly.”
- Still with the same study from Transaction Network Services (TNS) the generational cohort that has embraced mobile payment apps are Millennial Americans, with 82% of 25-34 year-olds saying they were likely to use them.
- “According to research released on August 6, 2020 by the National Retail Federation and Forrester, the use of mobile payments has drastically risen in the past few months due to concerns consumers have about touching surfaces because of COVID-19.”
- “The State of Retail Payments study reveals that 56% of retailers accept digital wallet payments on mobile phones, which is up from 44% last year.” Among American consumers, 19% reported that they made an in-store digital payment for the first time this May. “Of those, 62% used their phone, according to a Forrester Consumer Technographics survey.”
- When contrasting the different ways American consumers make payments, mobile payments are used by fifty-six percent of adults (143 million) at least once in a 12-month period. This means that it ranks behind payments made via credit cards (70%), debit cards (61%), and cash (78%), but ahead of checks and money orders (37%) and via prepaid cards (12%).
How Mobile is Shaping the Future of Brick and Mortar Retail
- While eighty-six percent of retail sales (pre-pandemic data) still take place at brick and mortar locations, as per research from Forrester, about fifty-three percent of those purchases are being digitally influenced. When digging into online mobile purchasing it is notable that in 2018, a third of Black Friday purchases were made via a mobile device. That number should inform brick-and-mortar businesses that they can’t turn a blind eye to the importance of mobile technology.
- Even without predictions surrounding mobile technology and its future growth, it is already currently affecting the consumers’ relationship with brick-and-mortar businesses. “Known as Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPIS), consumers are making purchases on their mobile devices and then picking the orders up in-store” at their convenience. A Kibo study that examined the sentiment of 3,000 consumers discovered that sixty-seven percent of respondents had used BOPIS within the last six months of the date of the survey.
- Mobile technology takes the disadvantage of being a fixed location and turns it into an advantage by leveraging mobile advancements like mobile payment processing solutions. Businesses can have much more flexibility surrounding where they operate. A small business could not only be at a local farmers market, they could attend a large trade show and complete any orders using their mobile phone.
- Mobile technology is altering the way employees at brick and mortar locations can assist consumers. In order to provide excellent service to customers, any retail businesses are making available mobile applications for their employees to get up to date data surrounding stock availability, information about a product, and even customer data. This sort of mobile tech “gives businesses the opportunity to offer a much more custom and dynamic in-store experience.”
- The Amazon Go stores in the U.S. won’t even allow a shopper in the store unless they have their phone, and the proper app installed on it in order to take advantage of its “Just Walk Out Technology.” “If you want to know the price of any item in an Amazon bookstore, you need to scan the item with your mobile phone, because Amazon offers the same (rapidly changing) price in-store as it does online, so it does not bother printing a price tag in the store, which would quickly become outdated. If you want to pay at an Amazon bookstore or Amazon 4-Star store using your Amazon account, get your prime discount at Whole Foods, or pick up an online order at a retail locker, you’re also going to need the Amazon app.” This is an ideal blending of mobile tech with brick and mortar shopping.
- “According to CB Insights’ retail trends report (download required that can be kicked off here), brick-and-mortar stores will use mobile technology as part of their retail flow. Mobile is now the main device used for online shopping, taking up over forty percent of all online sales in the fourth quarter of 2018/19.” The generational cohorts of Generation Z and Millennials are driving this trend as they overwhelmingly prefer browsing and buying through mobile. “Brands can use social media platforms like Instagram and messaging channels like WhatsApp to attract shoppers who otherwise couldn’t be reached through traditional advertising.”
- Stephanie Dismore, vice president and general manager, Americas Channels at HP Inc. asserts that brick and mortar retailers should recognize the importance of mobile devices and embracing omnichannel. Consumers are “no longer just shopping online. We’re finding now that shoppers are shopping where they want to be no matter what time of day, whether that’s on their mobile phone, whether that’s on their desktop or notebook, or whether that’s walking and going into a brick and mortar store. So it’s critical for us to create a seamless experience across all three vectors. Take a Neiman Marcus, for example. Some of the things they’re doing … in fact, they won the innovation award at NRF this past year for some of the cool things that they’re doing. They have an app called Snap. Find. Shop. If a shopper sees something that they like, they can take a picture of it, they put it into their Neiman Marcus app, and Neiman Marcus can then show them their product, or how they can buy that item or something similar. That’s a great example of retailers really stepping up their game to create just what we’re calling an experience for that shopper to say, “Hey, this is true value to me, and this is showing me … ” Taking the offline, online experience and incorporating into a seamless journey for that shopper.”