Mature Markets Don’t Shop Online

A new study shows that the emerging markets have the most active digital shoppers (Graphic:

Shopping has long since become a digital experience – even more so in countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey than in Germany, Finland, or the U.S.A. This was the finding a new study conducted by management consulting company Capgemini with 16,000 respondents in 16 countries.

India and China shop online the most

The Web is now the crucial place to connect with consumers, especially in the growing markets. There, 80 percent of those surveyed rank the Internet as important or very important. In mature markets, that number is 63 percent – closely followed by e-mail. Differences between the markets are even more pronounced when it comes to using social networks and smartphones. The number of consumers that use social networks in emerging markets is more than twice as much as in mature markets (65 percent compared to only 30 percent). And the same is true for apps: 58 percent of shoppers in growing markets count on apps – only 27 percent in mature markets.

Consumers aren’t just buying online more frequently, they’re also buying more. While 72 percent of respondents in India, and 96 in China, say they buy more products per purchase on the Internet than at the store, only 31 percent of respondents in the U.S.A. report the same. Still, that puts them ahead of countries like Germany and Finland, where only 28 and 18 percent of respondents, respectively, identified as active online shoppers. At 35 percent, the U.S. falls more in the middle.

According to the study, less-developed retail infrastructures in emerging markets could be the reason for this. For those who want to go shopping in these countries, online may be the only option.

Whether online or in store, consumers want a consistent shopping experience. This presents particular challenges to retailers. Differences in the product, demographics, and purchasing phase call for special strategies tailored to the target audience.