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5 Key Tech Factors Driving the Digital Consumer in Europe

June 19th, 2017

Smartphones are becoming a must-have device and slowly the default screen for brand engagement and digital commerce transactions. This is no different in Western Europe where digital consumers are conducting more commerce activities online and doing so more often on mobile devices as compared with computers.

In order to better understand the digital consumer, Euromonitor International conducted proprietary segmentation analysis to pinpoint the defining characteristics, motivations and preferences of this population subset.

Below are five key insights about the Western European digital consumer:

(1) Consumers increasingly utilize mobile for commerce activities

The always-on connectivity of the mobile device is affording commerce players with new opportunities to engage consumers in the path to purchase. In fact, Western European digital consumers are conducting more commerce activities online and doing so more often on mobile devices as compared with computers. Using banking services is the most popular commerce-related activity on both form factors, but those using a mobile device to connect to their bank on a daily basis is 10 percentage points higher than those doing so on their computer. In addition, there is a similar spread among consumers that report buying an item or service or conducting price comparisons on a daily basis on a mobile device instead of a computer.

(2) Purchase decisions most influenced by friends and family members

With respect to specific marketing channels, Western European digital consumers are the most influenced by what friends and family members have to say. Specifically, Italians and French are the most influenced by this marketing source whereas Germans are the least. In addition, consumers also rank social media posts from friends and family as more influential than those posted by a company or brand. The power of the consumer voice broadly aligns with how digital consumers elsewhere view influencers. The one exception is that digital consumers outside of Western Europe rate loyalty reward programs higher than independent consumer reviews.

(3) Best price and time savings are top motivations for shopping online

Like digital consumers elsewhere, those in Western Europe indicate that saving money and time were the top motivations for shopping online . Free shipping, the variety of available brands and the ability to shop anytime, anywhere round out the top five for both population subsets, though the ranks vary between Western Europe versus elsewhere. Western European digital consumers ranked immediate purchase and accurate product search as more important motivations for shopping online than their digitally savvy counterparts.

(4) Availability and security of payment options hinder online shopping

One theme that emerges when comparing motivations between Western European digital consumers and their counterparts for shopping in person is the perceived access and security of online payment methods. When compared with digital consumers elsewhere, a higher percentage of Western Europeans reported they did not prefer to make online purchases, did not trust the payment security of online shopping and did not have a payment method that enables them to shop online. Western European digital consumers rated all three of these as greater motivations for shopping in person than digital consumers in every other region, except the Middle East and Africa, which ranked higher on two of the three answers. This means there is work ahead for the Western European payments industry to build, introduce and educate consumers about online payment solutions that would resonate more with this digitally savvy consumer base.

(5) Western Europeans are the least trusting of shipping services

Western European digital consumers are the least trusting of shipping services out of all regions. To combat these concerns, a number of retailers have launched click-and-collect services. These services enable consumers to make an online purchase, but instead of shipping the products, consumers are able to pick up their items from brick-and-mortar outlets. Click-and-collect services have played a major role in propelling digital commerce uptake in markets like the UK, which sits atop the current rankings of Euromonitor International’s Digital Consumer Index. In particular, click and collect has revolutionized the UK online retailing industry, bringing consumers back to the high street, after fears that local stores would not be able to compete with the clout of online heavyweights, such as Amazon and eBay. Retailing remote purchases accounted for 54% of all remote digital purchases in 2016, with the likes of John Lewis and Argos generating a large proportion of their online sales via click and collect.

Digital backbone, spending power bode well for future digital commerce spend

Western Europe is a particularly attractive region for those players seeking future digital commerce opportunities. Western Europe has a strong digital backbone with near ubiquitous internet access and extensive high-speed broadband coverage. In addition to consumers there being more highly connected, many residents of this region also have the wallet to be able to spend meaningfully in this emerging digital commerce world. While there are intraregional differences, Western Europe is home to some of the wealthiest nations in the world, which include the likes of the Scandinavian nations as well as others like Germany, Switzerland and the UK. In order to capture this digital dollar, companies will have to understand how Western European digital consumers shop differently than their counterparts across the world.

For purposes of this proprietary segmentation analysis, Euromonitor International defined a digital consumer as someone who had executed four out of seven commerce-related activities on a smartphone on at least a weekly basis and had bought goods or services from at least four of the nine product and service categories using either a computer or mobile device.

Michelle Evans will be speaking about Europe’s Digital Consumers – Who They Are and How They Spend in the upcoming Money20/20 Europe, June 26-28, 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

For more information, please visit the event Website: https://www.money2020europe.com/

For delegate passes please use the Discount Code: EUM2017

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Michelle Evans

As the Global Head of Digital Consumer Research at Euromonitor International, Michelle Evans oversees digital research to provide actionable insights and in-depth analyses into how technology is fundamentally changing commerce. Recognized as a thought leader in digital commerce, she was named to Innotribe’s Power Women in Fintech in 2015 and Asian Entrepreneur’s Women on Top in Tech in 2016. She regularly shares her expertise across industry events whether as a speaker, chairperson or juror. Leveraging her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, she authors a biweekly column in Forbes and has been quoted in several publications globally. She follows the technological advances that are shaping the way consumers browse and buy goods and services with her specialty spanning mobile payments, digital commerce, e-commerce, m-commerce, digital marketing and social media.

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