[onderzoek] Smartphone increasingly important buying tool

In this article, Sara de Groot, senior research consultant at Ruigrok Netpanel, lists the results from the annual trend survey What’s Happening Online to provide more insight into the increasing use of the smartphone in online shopping. In addition, she will discuss how this trend will develop: what is the influence of the corona crisis on online purchases?

Smartphone increasingly used for online shopping
E-commerce is strongly developed in the Netherlands: 94% make an online purchase at least once a year. In the past year, the number of consumers who make online purchases via smartphone has risen from 44% to 49%. This has risen sharply, especially among Digitians (14-23 years) and Millennials (24-39 years), who are the absolute frontrunners in mobile shopping. On average, consumers who use their smartphone for online purchases are more likely to buy than consumers who shop online on another device. Among the mobile shoppers, 20% buy something online every week, among consumers who only buy via a larger screen, this is only 7%.

More intensive smartphone use encourages online shopping
In the research, we see a number of possible explanations for this growth in the use of the smartphone in online shopping. It starts with the smartphone use itself: although the smartphone property has reached the ceiling among all generations, we do see the use of the smartphone increasing. Game, stream, check your timeline, send an app; in total we spend hours a day on it. Because we use the smartphone more and more and for more and more activities, the step to online purchases is quickly made. The step from the timeline on social media to online purchase is getting easier; for example, four out of ten Dutch people bought something in the past year after clicking an ad or message on social media.

Paying with a smartphone is easy and safe
The growth of mobile banking is also contributing to the growing use of the smartphone for online shopping. The Dutch are increasingly arranging their financial affairs via smartphone. Millennials make the most use of this (83%), and we see it increase rapidly among all other generations. Among Baby Boomers (59-74 years), this has even doubled in three years!

One of the great advantages of online shopping via the smartphone that emerged in the research is the link to the banking app; payment can be easily confirmed. Not only the convenience of online banking, but also the safety of this is important. Nowadays, six in ten Dutch people think that paying an online purchase via smartphone is safe, which has doubled since 2016. Only one in ten thinks it is unsafe, especially consumers who do not use a smartphone for online purchases. Doubts about safety are a barrier to online shopping for them.

Does the corona crisis drive mobile purchases?
The results of the study relate to the period before the corona measures. The trends and developments we see in the field of e-commerce and the use of devices give no reason to think that the growth in online purchases via smartphone will stagnate in the coming years. On the contrary!

The corona crisis can make both a positive and a negative contribution to mobile shopping. It is likely that the frequency with which we shop online is increasing. Webshops saw a sharp increase in the number of customers and the number of packages in recent months. A large proportion of consumers will revert to the old behavioral pattern. However, another part is more likely to exchange the physical store for a webshop. It is still difficult to estimate how large this group of consumers actually is.

We also become more accustomed to paying with our smartphone. The use of our smartphone in arranging money matters has increased recently. In the first few weeks, we often paid contactless in the supermarket, also with a smartphone. Now that we have been able to return to the terrace since 1 June, we order and pay via the QR code on the table. And if there is a debit card, contactless payments are also made via smartphone here. The waiter is increasingly being replaced by an app, too The Parool.

Although online purchases will generally increase, the question is whether shopping with the smartphone will grow along with this. We also see that we are less on public transport because of working from home, which is usually the time to grab the smartphone. In addition, we often sit behind a laptop or desktop at home and we also spend our free time at home. Which habits we have acquired during this “corona period” will have the greatest lasting impact on our online behavior in the coming months.

About the research
What’s Happening Online has been carried out on its own initiative by Ruigrok NetPanel for 13 years in a row. In this independent quantitative study, the entire breadth of Dutch society is questioned about the use of devices, e-commerce, social media and online finance & safety. The target group of the study consists of Dutch people aged 14 years and older, spread over four generations of Digitieners (14-23 years), Millennials (24-38 years), Generation X (39-58 years) and Baby Boomers (59-74 years). . A total of 2,639 Dutch people completed the online questionnaire in the quantitative survey. The sample aged 14-17 is representative of the Dutch population by gender and age. From the age of 18 (n = 2,348), the sample is representative by gender, age and education level. The data collection took place from 5 to 16 March 2020. For the qualitative research, we discussed 19 Dutch people across the four generations. ”
(source: Ruigrok NetPanel)

Author Sara de Groot, senior research consultant at Ruigrok Netpanel

For all results of the study: download the study report here.

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