How Mobile Affects Local Shopping Decisions? New Insight


To capture the influence of mobile on Chinese consumers, location-based marketing strategist xAd and Millward Brown dedicated a study to “‘the mobile path to purchase” in China. The study provides insights for marketers to understand how mobile is affecting Chinese consumers’ purchasing decisions at different stages in their decision making process. Let’s take a look.

Mobile most influential in terms of local shopping decision-making

160823_Mobile influence purchase decision_1Across media, mobile is the most important media in terms of decision making for 55% or local consumers. For 33% of consumers, laptop is most important, while for television(6%), tablet(4%), print media(2%) and broadcasting(1%).

The percentage of mobile as the most influential media in shopper decision making, is significantly higher than mature markets  UK and the USA, where only one-third of consumers think smartphone plays the most important role in their decision making.

Mobile, the key influencer in deciding retail store

160823_Mobile influence purchase decision_2Although the e-commerce has developed rapidly in China, it is notable that retail stores are still the major purchase venue – about 90% consumption activities taking place here, according to the study from Chinese Industrial Information Center on the ‘trend prediction of China’s retail industry in 2016.’

However in this context, the mobile becomes a decisive conduit connecting online and offline activities. It influences which stores, consumers will patronize and what they will buy. The study shows that before purchase , 31% consumers will use their smartphone to find nearby stores, and 30% will decide which store they go to by evaluating online comments, while 26% will search for the route to the location on their phone.

The impact of mobile in the local consumer journey

160823_Mobile influence purchase decision_3The study shows more than 50% consumers are influenced by mobile at the two initial stages of in the purchase process – awareness and considering (Bars 1 and 2).  The impact then decreases as the process moving from evaluating, purchasing to post-purchase (Bar 3, 4 and 5).

Chinese consumers like to complete their purchases fast

160823_Mobile influence purchase decision_4

If in-home, 34% of consumers on mobile want to complete their purchases immediately  and 13% will complete within one hour .

If out-of-home, 21% of consumers on mobile want to complete their purchases immediately and 45% will complete within one hour .

What can we learn from the report

  • Mobile is a key influencer on shopper decision making, especially at early stages of consideration
  • Mobile is a key informational conduit, deciding which retail outlets local shoppers go to
  • Chinese consumers are quick to buy the trigger, make sure you allow them to buy rapidly through mobile

About Author

Tracy Zhang

As a Masters graduate of Foreign Trade, Tracy started her career helping supermarket brand City Shop to source the ‘hunger’ of Shanghai’s internationalizing consumers. Now that she has found her passion in consumer research, she is helping develop Resonance's ground-breaking ethnographic offer.

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