Consumers are digital savvy

DURBAN – Consumers are increasingly using digital technology for more than just shopping. 

There is a revolution occurring in how customers access entertainment and media.

In South Africa, cord-cutting is also increasingly popular, with 22.9% of consumers streaming movies daily, and 23.9% streaming music daily.

These were some of the key findings from PwC’s 2019 Global Consumer Insights Survey released this month.

The survey assesses behaviour, habits and expectations of over 21 000 online consumers in 27 territories. PwC’s research reveals rapidly changing consumer behaviour in a host of areas other than entertainment and media.

Anton Hugo, retail and consumer leader for PwC Africa, said: “Not only are consumers the strongest link in the global economic chain, but the survey results show that the technological tools available to them have put them in a position to demand a tailored, seamless and multichannel shopping and social-media-powered experience. Retailers can achieve this by using a blend of both physical and digital approaches. The result for companies will be a greater return on experience with the customer and gaining a competitive advantage.”

109756004 - Consumers are digital savvy
While consumers still shop in stores, a recent PwC survey shows that almost a third of consumers buy products online weekly or more frequently, up five percentage points year on year (pp denotes percentage points). PwC 2019 Global Consumer Insights Survey

The study found that consumers – bombarded with a multitude of choices – were constantly seeking tools to help simplify their purchasing decisions. In addition to using digital technology, they were looking to their trusted communities and other experts:

According to those surveyed, the top three attributes that can improve an in-store shopping experience are easy store navigation, knowledgeable sales staff and easy payment options. In South Africa, consumers also stated that the use of technology could assist the shopping experience, for example, self-service kiosks and scanners.

Globally, 61% of consumers are influenced by social media for their purchases, either as inspiration or following positive reviews and 46.5% of South African consumers said they had been influenced to buy a product/service following positive reviews on social media.

Almost 50% of those surveyed globally let family and friends’ opinions guide their choice of a holiday travel provider. Almost half of South African consumers (49.4%) said they were influenced by special offers when choosing their holiday/travel provider and 46.1% were guided by their family and friends’ opinions.

The findings also confirmed that smartphones have become the go-to technology for online shopping, with more than half (51%) of our global sample of consumers saying they use a smartphone to pay bills and invoices online and the same percentage transferring money online.

Locally, 63.2% of consumers used digital channels to pay their bills and invoices in the past 12 months, while 67% have transferred money online. For the first time since PwC has conducted this survey, consumers surveyed were using smartphones rather than other mobile devices to shop online, with 24% of consumers globally (compared to 23.1% in South Africa) using a smartphone.


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