US Ranks High in Use of Mobile Devices During In-Store Shopping, but Still Lags in Mobile Payments

New GfK shopper research in 20 countries shows evolution of
omni-channel shopping, mobile commerce

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New global research reveals that US shoppers are among the world’s
leaders in using mobile devices during trips to bricks-and-mortar retail
outlets. But in-store mobile payments still account for just 2% of all
US transactions – a level dramatically lower than China and other
mobile-forward regions.

GfK shared the new findings, from its 2016 FutureBuy® report on digital
and in-person shopping trends, at the recent Electronic Transaction
Association’s Strategic Leadership Forum.

Click here to learn
more about upcoming FutureBuy® webinars.

When asked where they last used a smartphone or tablet to help them
shop, 37% of US shoppers answered “in a store” – one of the highest
levels among the 20 countries measured. The United Kingdom recorded the
most in-store use of a mobile device (40% of shoppers), with Canada and
India also scoring higher than the US. The comparable figure for China
was 30%.

But only 2% of US shoppers reported actually making a payment with a
mobile device in a store – much lower than China’s 24%, and beaten even
by the UK’s 3%.

Among the most common reasons US shoppers use mobile devices (in stores
or elsewhere) are to compare prices (reported by 25%), search for
product information (19%), read online reviews (17%), and check
availability of an item (14%).

Levels of concern and skepticism about mobile payments rose in the US
over the past year. Over four in ten (42%) US shoppers now agree that
“mobile payments are more of a gimmick today than a major part of how I
pay”; this represents a jump of 5 percentage points (from 37%) compared
to FutureBuy’s 2015 study.

In addition, roughly one-quarter (24%) of US shoppers say “I am worried
about my personal information when using a mobile payment app” – up from
20% in 2015.

US and European shoppers also displayed low levels of enthusiasm for
mobile payments expansion. While two-thirds (65%) of those in Latin
America said they “look forward to being able to pay for more and more
transactions from my mobile device,” only one-quarter (26%) of US
shoppers felt that way. The world average was 41%, with Europe also
coming in substantially lower (at 28%), while Asia Pacific was slightly
higher (51%).

“The opportunity to change US consumer behavior and improve the customer
experience through mobile shopping and purchasing is dramatically
clear,” said Tim Spenny, Senior Vice President on GfK’s Financial
Services team. “Consumers here feel comfortable using their smartphones
and tablets to shop and price compare, learn about products, check
availability and read reviews. But lingering security concerns – mostly
unfounded – and the lack of a clear, consumer-centric value proposition
are hindering adoption and usage of in-store mobile payments in the US.

“A clear security communication effort coupled with a compelling app or
wallet design,” Spenny said, “would help mobile payments become more of
a mainstream behavior among US shoppers. The benefits to merchants — in
terms of efficiency, loyalty, and additional consumer data – would be

GfK’s annual FutureBuy study measures the shifting interactions of
digital and in-person activities in the shopper experience, tracking
essential trends such as “showrooming” and “webrooming.” In 2016,
FutureBuy covers 25 countries and 16 major product categories, from
beauty and personal care products to major appliances to healthcare
services. Ideal for sales, category, and brand managers, as well as
strategic planners, FutureBuy insights are available in off-the-shelf
country reports, custom reports, and through the GfK Connect portal.

About GfK

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information
that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000
market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing
data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global
insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100
countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns
big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their
competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

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David Stanton
VP, MarComms