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Mobile

Online shopping outranks sport as leisure activity of choice

Younger Australians see mobile shopping as a way to unwind, ranking it on par with TV as their leisure activity of choice, new research reveals.

PayPal’s mCommerce Index: Trends Report 2018 released today includes findings from a survey conducted by ACA Research of more than 1,000 consumers and more than 400 business decision-makers on the topic of mobile commerce.

According to the report, smartphones have become more than just a convenient way to shop on-the-go, they have become a form of entertainment, with 67 per cent of Aussie smartphone owners saying they shop just for fun on their mobile phones without any plans of making a purchase. When they do make a purchase, 77 per cent said they make impulse buys.

As PayPal Australia’s director of customer engagement, Elaine Herlihy, points out, retailers could see significant benefits from making mobile shopping more fun, since 46 per cent of consumer respondents said they browsed sites for entertainment at least once a week.

“The data shows that simply having an online offering is no longer enough for retailers. Australians are demanding mobile-first experiences and are gravitating towards mobile shopping experiences that are fun and engaging,” Herlihy said.

“Reading and writing reviews, product research and sharing images of virtual try-ons is an enjoyable pastime for many Australians, particularly with younger shoppers … Australian retailers can no longer view their mobile offering as a transactional storefront, but as a platform to deliver enjoyment, entertainment and social sharing,” she said.

The trend towards ‘retailtainment’ is particularly prevalent among younger generations, with 69 per cent of Gen Z consumer respondents (22 years and under) engaging in mobile shopping as a leisure activity – making it as popular as watching television (69 per cent) and more than twice as popular as watching or playing sport (31 per cent and 27 per cent respectively) for this cohort.

However, consumers still face barriers to a seamless shopping experience on mobile devices, with 88 per cent of consumer respondents saying they are concerned about not being able to identify the correct size of an item, and 82 per cent saying that even if the size was correct, they are unsure of whether the item will look good on them or in their home.

The report noted that augmented reality (AR) is increasingly being used to enable virtual ‘try before you buy’ experiences, something that 51 per cent of consumer respondents want more retailers to offer.

44 per cent of consumer respondents said they would be more likely to purchase online if they could virtually see what an item looked like on them or in their home before buying, and 39 per cent felt they would reduce the number of returns.

Only 5 per cent of consumer respondents said they had used augmented reality, which is in-line with the 5 per cent of Australian small to medium businesses that currently offer an AR experience, although 32 per cent of business respondents said they are currently developing or intending to develop an AR experience.

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