Consumers’ use of technology has forced the retail sector to adapt

An investigation by MasterCard and European Business Summit studied the impact technology has had on consumers’ shopping habits and behaviour.

The report provides fascinating insight into how technology has changed consumers’ retail habits, and, consequentially, how the retail sector has had to adapt to cater to these new habits.

In 2007 there were only 41 million smartphones in Europe. In 2015, 305 million. Sixty per cent of people have made a mobile online purchase at least once.

MasterCard says this statistic made many merchants change “ their business model to offer an omni-channel purchasing experience that seamlessly converges traditional and online retail channels”.

When asked what do consumers look for the most in a payment transaction, ‘comfort’ came out on top. 97 per cent want their mobile payment transactions to be ‘convenient’; 87 per cent want to see a ‘one-click’ option; 84 per cent would like to see ‘personalised offers’.

All these statistics point to one conclusion: consumers crave transaction simplicity above all else. As a global community, technology has made reliant on, and desirous of, ease of use. If something is convoluted, users will seek out a more expeditious platform.

Retailers have understood the necessity of adapting and evolving. More and more retailers now offer omni-channel solutions. Users can purchase products in-store or online. In fact, 63 per cent research their shopping online and then proceed to purchase in-store. This statistic is bound to change over time in favour of e-commerce solutions as people become more and more accustomed to online purchasing and forget their in-store experiences. In fact, E-commerce is growing by double-digit figures with an average of 11.4 per cent growth rate.

“In the Digital Age we all expect to be able to shop anytime, anywhere and anyhow. New payments solutions such as contactless cards and device-based payments are no longer some futuristic opportunity. Technological innovations such as contactless payments or mobile Wallets including MasterPass have created a new consumer-retailer experience,” said Ann Cairns, president of International Markets for MasterCard.

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