When it comes to product research in Saudi Arabia, HyperPanda customers are the most likely to go mobile first: One third look to their smartphones when deciding which products and services to buy.
Newly released analysis of On Device Research’s quarterly Mobile Path-to-Purchase tracker has shone a light on the role of the smartphone in the purchase decision making process of Saudi Arabian household main shoppers, along with the digital habits of customers at the country’s top supermarkets: HyperPanda, Al Othaim and Carrefour.
With an estimated 70.5% of the Saudi Arabian population owning a smartphone by the end of 2016 (Source: eMarketer), understanding the impact of the rise of mobile on the highly influential main shopper audience who directly determine a household’s brand consumption habits is crucial.
Top findings from the main-shopper analysis include:
- Mobile is now the platform of choice at every stage of the purchase cycle: 91% of main shoppers use the mobile internet on a weekly basis and as the chart below shows, the picture for customers of the top three supermarkets is one of even higher mobile usage frequency. Combined with the fact that reading information on a smartphone emerges as the number one method of researching products and services to buy, and that 79% of smartphone owners have purchased a product or service on their smartphone in the past three months, a picture of mobile’s dominance in what is now a highly non-linear consumer purchase journey becomes very clear.
- On Demand is on the rise: Amongst Saudi Arabian main shoppers, linear TV now plays second fiddle to the mobile web despite the fact that 81% still watch it at least once a week. Of more significance however is the fact that at 76%, On Demand TV is fast playing catch up with its traditional counterpart (especially among 18-25 year olds where 78% are using services like Netflix once a week). The traditional broadcast model is in the midst of digital disruption and as a consequence marketers will have to adopt more diverse strategies to imprint their brands on to the consumer consciousness.
- Brands should be aware that product research habits differ by supermarket customer: For HyperPanda customers the Smartphone is revealed as the method of choice for researching new products and services. Carrefour customers are revealed to be slightly more traditional however, with an in store visit the research method of choice. For Al Othaim the preference is for social media. While the smartphone appears near the top of the list for all supermarkets, the diverse sources that main shoppers are using to enhance their decision making process should be considered by any brand using the top supermarkets as a route to market.
- Physical shopping experiences are still important, but the convenience of online provides a strong pull to main shoppers: The main reason that Saudi Arabian shoppers visit physical store locations is simply because they would prefer to inspect a product before purchase. For Carrefour customers the sociable and fun aspect of shopping is more important than for other supermarket shoppers, but overwhelmingly the desire for tactile experiences dominates. With main shoppers strongly agreeing that shopping online gives them time to do what they want to do however, brands should be aware that physical store visits can be followed by a digital purchase, and that online research can be followed by a physical purchase. In other words, the linear path-to-purchase is well and truly dead!
On Device Research’s quarterly mobile path-to-purchase tracker aims to make actionable recommendations for marketers and brands wanting to take advantage of the myriad opportunities afforded by mobile marketing. The full presentation can be found here.
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