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Changing trends of global retail
Mar '16
Global consumers are pushing the boundaries of what shopping means.  An extensive global survey on retail trends shows that mobiles have emerged as the most popular purchasing tools. Social media is a great influencer for consumers who now prefer a knowledgeable store employee and nurture a desire to be member of specialized retail community.

The 'Total Retail' survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers across five continents covering 23,000 online shoppers shows that the competition in retail is getting tougher by the day and the stakes have never been higher for retailers and consumer goods companies.

Described by PwC as its most comprehensive market research exercise to date, the survey points to 2016 as a watershed for many of the retail trends that have been percolating over the past few years.

According to the survey, historical data reveals that today's consumers across the globe are doing what the Chinese shoppers were doing years ago. Thus, China presents a classic case for studying future trends in shopping behaviour.

Another highlight is that price continues to be the king or prime factor in making the final choice of a product across all income brackets, in every country and across every age group.

Mobile phones or devices have turned the corner as purchasing tools. Mobile commerce is now firmly on the march toward becoming the online shopping tool of choice, it says.

Additionally, customers are relying on social media—along with their family opinion, advertising messages, and media coverage—to make product decisions and gauge brand authenticity.

Footfalls are no longer the only indicators of store traffic as customer conversion across channels is evolving. “Customers are voting with their feet as they shop more online, and for multi-channel etailers that means the need for an increasingly focused, curated and engaging brick-and-mortar store experience that creates maximum conversion—no matter what channel ultimately records the purchase,” the survey notes.

As the customer gets more sophisticated, they also want employees who can enhance the brick-and-mortar store experience: associates with the product knowledge, technology know- how, and people skills.

Today's consumers look to community i.e. a deeper connection with their retailers via customer “communities” is apparent as consumers pick up on the perks of membership.

While consumers see plenty that is innovative about their favorite retailer, very few retailers qualify as “leading innovators” in shoppers' minds.

PwC's Global Retail and Consumer practice, in conjunction with PwC's Research to Insight (r2i), carried out the global survey to understand and compare consumer shopping behaviors and the use of different retail channels across 25 territories. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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