Shoppers turn to apps for rewards due to cost-of-living crisis

Shoppers turn to apps for rewards due to cost-of-living crisis Duncan is an award-winning researcher, with 20 years experience of analysing the technology industry, specialising in cloud computing, edge computing, blockchain, cybersecurity and marketing technology.


Mobile app experience company Airship has released findings from a global survey that highlight the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on Britain’s consumer shopping behaviours.

Faced with soaring inflation, which reached 10.4% in February, 80% of consumers in the U.K. now regularly use their smartphones to access stored loyalty cards and coupons while shopping in physical stores, compared to 79% for the U.S., 73% for France and 72% for Germany. 

The ‘Enhancing Shopper Value in 2023’ study, commissioned by Airship and conducted in partnership with Sapio Research, surveyed more than 11,000 consumers globally, finding that deal-motivated shopping behaviours are common across different markets. Globally, among 10 ways consumers use smartphones while shopping in physical stores, it was their use of the retailer’s app that saw the most year-over-year growth, going from 65% to 74% of respondents. 

For U.K. brick-and-mortar shoppers, using mobile devices to compare prices and access the retailer’s loyalty card and coupons increased the most year-over-year (+8pts), followed by use of the retailer’s app (+7pts). 

Three-quarters of British shoppers are likely to visit the retailer’s website while shopping in-store and 72% are likely to use the brand’s app – a narrow gap considering apps must first be downloaded to smartphones. 77% are also likely to compare prices on Amazon or Google before making an in-store purchase. 

Thomas Butta, chief strategy and marketing officer, Airship, said: “Today’s consumers are increasingly turning to mobile apps from their favourite retailers to score deals, gain special access and improve their overall customer experience, particularly while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

“As marketing budgets are pinched and consumers face economic pressures, retailers need greater agility to create and optimise valuable app experiences that grow customer understanding and reward them individually, making life easier and better for everyone involved.”

Nearly half of U.K. consumers (47%) say what motivates them most to opt in to receive brand communications on their smartphones are earning immediate discounts or loyalty points, and receiving personalised offers based on their browsing behaviours and past purchases — both of which increased +9pts compared to last year. 

Given the current economic climate, consumers have become more willing to share information and connect with brands in exchange for targeted, cost-saving offers and convenient experiences. This represents an opportunity for retailers to expand their understanding of customers to better cater to their needs, preferences and wishes. 

The survey was completed in partnership with Sapio Research in February 2023 among 11,000 consumers, age 18 and older in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brazil.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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