Shoppers looking for accessories at a mall in Johor Baru recently. A survey has indicated that more people are shopping online than ever, with 22 per cent of respondents saying they could find better deals online compared with brick-and-mortar stores.

KUALA LUMPUR: A RECENT survey to understand the changing trends in online retail has revealed that more people than ever before are shopping online and on their mobile devices.

The poll indicated that 48 per cent of mobile users made regular purchases online. In addition, nearly one in five browsed products online before making purchases in stores.

Mobile as a shopping channel is now on a par with computers and key to driving the change in consumer shopping behaviour.

The survey highlighted that Malaysia has the highest number of mobile shoppers (42 per cent).

In April and May, BuzzCity, commissioned by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), polled 3,590 respondents from 26 countries, including 11 Asia-Pacific markets.

“Consumers are changing the way they choose their purchases; it has become more complex and will continue to evolve.

“The survey highlights mobile’s potential to undermine traditional brand power and the imperative for marketers to maintain the relevance of their message across digital media.

“We know that consumers are driven by mobile in the first instance, but mobile first shouldn’t mean mobile only for retailers,” said BuzzCity country manager Zurin Wok Nordin.

In some countries, mobile has become the most dominant shopping channel, especially in the Asia Pacific region, where mobile leads the way for shopping.

In this region, a third (32 per cent of respondents) shop with their mobiles compared to a fifth with computers.

Further growth in mobile is expected as nearly one in three of those surveyed said that they would consider using their mobiles for shopping.

MMA managing director Rohit Dadwal said because mobile as a channel evolved very quickly, marketers would be challenged.

“The challenge for marketers is to create a seamless shopping experience across all the channels to ensure that consumers are getting a consistent brand message and identity.”

The explosive rise of mobile as a shopping channel appeared to have caught many retailers off guard.

The survey recorded that more people were leaving stores without making a purchase for a variety of reasons.

At least 22 per cent left stores for a better online deal compared with 13 per cent last year,

The survey added that 27 per cent could not find what they wanted in stores compared with 14 per cent in 2013.

Overall, fewer customers were engaging with shop assistants and, consequently, not making it to the tills, which should ring alarm bells for retailers.

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