Who are the Mobile Shop-o-holics?

Who are the Mobile Shop-o-holics?

Saturday August 10, 2013,

8 min Read

Mobile Shop-a-holics, is a nine country research study of mobile shopping behaviours among consumers. The study highlights the rising trend of using nine key mobile shopping behaviors among Indian consumers. The survey was done by Cogito Consulting – an independent brand and marketing consultancy division of the DraftfcbUlka Group.

The Background

Mobiles today have combined the best of three greatest technological advancements of our times viz: computer, internet & mobile technology. 2013 is the watershed year for mobile phones as for the first time; smartphones will outsell feature phones globally. In markets like India where feature phones still dominate, even they are adding smarter aspects like internet access and social media connectivity (Source : IDC)

Mobile have already had a significant impact on the way we do business, the way we connect with friends and relatives and even the way we live. To paraphrase Ted Turner – “To be happy in this world, first you need a cellphone…” So it’s no surprise that mobile phones are also transforming the way we shop!

Draftfcb Worldwide Mobile Shopping Study

Draftfcb undertook a multi-country study to understand the impact of mobile phones on shopping behaviours across nine major developed and emerging economies. Cogito Consulting partnered Draftfcb for the India leg of this study.

Countries : India, China, Brazil, USA, UK, USA, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Africa

The survey was conducted online among urban audiences in select cities in the emerging economies, while we contacted all audiences in the developed economies. The survey was done with a sample size of over 8000 respondents in the 18-64 age group globally.

This article focuses on two key developed markets viz UK & USA and three key emerging markets viz. India, Brazil and China to gain an overall perspective.

The Methodology

The survey was conducted among men & women between the age 18-64 who are shoppers whether online, through mobile and offline and also owners of mobile phones. Respondents were classified into the following age groups: Age 18-24, Age 25- 34, Age 35-44, Age 45-54, Age 55-64.

Mobile Shopping: Defining the Scope

The consumer shopping decision is not a one-step activity but the culmination of a multiple stage decision making process. Defining mobile shopping as just making purchases through mobiles would have been restrictive and would significantly underestimate the impact of this medium.

Mobile Shop

Consumer Decision Making Process comprises of Need recognition --> Information search --> Evaluation of alternatives --> Purchase --> Post purchase behavior – as defined by Philip Kotler in his book Marketing Management.The survey focused on ‘Information search’ and defined 9 key shopping behaviours beyond actual purchases which consumers may be performing on their mobiles. The survey evaluated consumer behavior on stated intent, adoption and frequency. This information was used to classify respondents into three distinct segments viz : Mobile Shoppers, Prospects & Rejectors.

Mobile Shoppers: Consumers who regularly perform and intend to continue performing one or more of the nine shopping behaviours on their mobile.

Prospects: Consumers who perform one or more of the nine shopping behaviours offline or through the PC and intend to perform these behaviours on their mobiles in the future.

Rejectors: Consumers who perform one or more of the defined shopping behaviours offline or on the internet but do not intend to perform them on a mobile or are non-users of mobile internet.


At first glance India & China appeared to have the highest proportion of mobile shoppers in the overall population, compared to the more developed markets of US, UK, Brazil. However the difference was driven by a significantly higher proportion of the older 45+ audience who participated in this survey in the developed economies as compared to emerging countries, where the online population is significantly younger.

45-64 age group accounted for a majority of rejectors over 77% in the UK and US and over 60% in Brazil. Hence the survey focused on the 18-44 age group a like-to-like comparison across the countries. In the 18-44 age group, India and China show a similar adoption of mobile shopping behaviours as compared to the developed economies of US & UK. Brazil continues to lag behind in this parameter.

Study Findings

1. Gender bias emerges in mobile shopping in India – A higher proportion of men in India are mobile shop-o-holics. In other countries, mobile shop-o-holics are spread across both segments. With the 18-44 age group, even the US market shows higher bias with men accounting for 59% of mobile shoppers.


2. Mobile shoppers love their daily dose of mobile internet – A significant 74%, Indian respondents access mobile internet atleast once a day, for more than just checking email, this proportion is somewhat behind China, US and UK but ahead of Brazil. As mobile internet access plans become affordable and widespread, the adoption number will only increase. Among the young 18-24 age group, India is only second to China on this parameter, with 83% of Indians in this age group accessing the internet through mobile atleast once a day for activities other than work or email.

3. Indians are not Appy enough – Though India is close to global standards of mobile internet usage, apps have not yet captured our fancy with just 46% of Indians using more than 10 apps on their mobile, compared to 71% in China. This could be due to low indigenization of apps. 8 out of the Top 10 free apps on Google Play in China and all Top 10 free and Top 10 highest grossing paid apps on Apple App Store are local Chinese apps. (Source: App Store & Google Play China).

In sharp contrast, no paid India app makes the Top 10 either on Google Play or on App Store among paid apps. Only two free Indian apps manage to make it to Top 20 free apps in Google Play in India namely nexTV – a mobile TV application and a game based on Chotta Bheem at 10th and 20th position respectively. (Source: The New Indian Express).


4. Indians are highly emotionally attached to mobilesIndian respondents and to some extent Brazilians seem to be enamoured of their mobile phones and the inherent possibilities it provides. In contrast, Chinese respondents state they value the utilitarian aspects of their mobiles, a sentiment also shared by US & UK respondents.


5. Indians are focused on convenience and priceIndians & US respondents have the highest stated agreement with most mobile shopping behaviours, especially with the flexibility to compare prices. UK customers don’t seem to find mobile shopping important as other customer segments.


6. Deals and discounts, still the name of the Indian gameWhile across most countries deal hunting, store location mapping and price comparison emerge as the three behaviours which respondents are most likely to perform, there were some interesting differences across nationalities that the study discovered.

Surprisingly Indians are the only ones who do not seem to perform price comparison as the No.1 mobile shopping behavior, rather they seem to be focusing on deals & discounts. They are also far more likely to use this medium to share their opinions and track activity in loyalty programs. US and UK respondents placed more importance on price comparison and US respondents were more likely to use their mobiles to find store locations and organize their shopping requirements. UK respondents did not seem to find much utility in sharing their opinions or writing reviews.

Chinese respondents were far more likely to look for reviews and advice through their mobiles, even as Brazilians overall seemed to find less utility for the nine mentioned shopping behavior.


7. Among Indians, youngers seek price, while elders seek adviceThe 18-24 age group, was more driven by price in this space, compared to other age groups. This group is also more likely to explore what a product looks like on the mobile, compared to other age groups.

While the advice seeking 35-44 age group is the least savvy in mobile shopping behavior, they find higher utility in searching for reviews and advice online.

The middle 25-34 age group seeks help in organizing their lives by finding store locations and managing different shopper and loyalty programs.


8. Indian men rather than women are more committed to their mobile phones – While both groups, rate seeking deals, discounts and offers as highly important, in India, men seem to be far more likely to perform different mobile shopping behaviours on their mobiles, especially to compare prices and information beyond price and store location.

Women are far more likely to seek advice through their mobiles.


9. Speed emerges as the biggest barrier to higher adoption in IndiaSpeed emerges to be the biggest barrier to higher frequency of purchases in India and China. Security concerns are also noticeably higher in emerging economies.

US & UK respondents in contrast, find the screen size to be a far more significant issue than speed or security. With just 18 million Indians subscribing to 3G, the adoption of 3G mobile internet in India is rather low and as the numbers increase, the concern over speed maybe addressed leading to other of mobile shopping.


10. Future of mobile shopping is set to be brighter in India and in BrazilRespondents from India & Brazil seem to be the most optimistic about continuing to perform the mobile shopping behaviour in the future, suggesting that the next wave of mobile commerce and shopping related innovations may emerge from these markets.