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Shoppers' little helper: Brits relying on mobile phones to hunt down high street bargains

UK shoppers augmenting bricks-and-mortar with mobile research and coupons...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor on

UK shoppers augmenting bricks-and-mortar with mobile research and coupons...

The UK's shoppers are increasingly relying on their mobile phones to help them hunt down the latest bargains, according to research.

Close to half (45 per cent) of those who responded to a survey by KPMG said they use their mobile devices to locate the nearest store, while almost a third (32 per cent) use their phones to research products and services, and just under a third (30 per cent) load online coupons on their handhelds.

Around a fifth (19 per cent) even use their mobiles to scan barcodes to glean product information, the survey found.

Mobile driving a 'converged lifestyle'

"From buying goods on their mobile phones to keeping up with friends on social networks, consumers are increasingly reliant on a range of technologies that perform important - yet often overlapping - tasks," said Tudor Aw, KPMG's European head of technology, in a statement.

Mobile shopping

Shopping checklist: Bank cards, mobile phone... Photo: Shutterstock

"This new 'converged lifestyle' will have huge implication for retailers. The integration of various channels will become increasingly important as retailers begin to see many of their consumers move to online and application-based purchases. As the ubiquitous smartphones empowers the consumer retailers will need to understand the opportunities and risks that mobile devices present."

When it comes to online shopping, a majority of UK and global consumers consult feedback and ratings pages on the internet or get information on potential purchases on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, according to the research. Monitoring and managing third-party data sources will be a "key element of any digital sales strategy", the KPMG report said.

Across most categories of goods, the majority of survey respondents cited online shopping as preferable to bricks-and-mortar, according to the report. This preference was even more marked in the UK: almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of UK respondents said they are more likely to buy flights and holidays online, and more than three-quarters (77 per cent) prefer buying CDs, DVDs, books and video games online.

Privacy vs freebies

The KPMG research also flagged up how many Brits are willing to allow their online usage data and personal profile information to be tracked by advertisers if it results in lower cost or free items: almost half (49 per cent) of UK respondents said they are ready to trade privacy for discounts or freebies.

Globally, the research found that a majority of consumers (62 per cent) are willing to be tracked by advertisers. KPMG said this provides a "significant revenue opportunity" for businesses if they can manage and monetise their customers' dataset.

However, the report also notes growing unease among consumers about data privacy and security, with almost half (48 per cent) of all respondents to the survey citing a very high level of concern in this area.

"The report also shows that consumers' concerns over privacy and data security have increased over the last few years and companies across all sectors need to take this concern seriously. Whether its retailers or banks, consumers want transparency as to what companies do about data security and they want third parties to certify this security," Aw said.

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