Just in, some new data from a recent study from phase one of “Citizen Tech,” which is a North American study commissioned by Citizen Relations and powered by Vision Critical’s Customer Intelligence Platform, far more Canadians surveyed say they are comparing products online and then purchasing in store (74 per cent) rather than the reverse (25 per cent), commonly referred to as webrooming and showrooming, respectively. Of course showrooming has been a consumer activity that has been disrupting the way retailers do business for years. This has also given rise to another trend: while in the technology aisles of a retail store, more and more shoppers are using a mobile device to comparison shop and research lower prices online to try and have them matched right then and there (16 per cent of Canadians surveyed), newly dubbed ‘mob-aisling’ (pronounced mobile-ing) by Citizen Relations.
According to the study, Canadians surveyed say they prefer purchasing in-store rather than online because they want to see and feel the product (67 per cent), want the item immediately (48 per cent) or don’t want to pay shipping (40 per cent). Speaking to someone before making a purchase decision proves to be very important for the 55+ year old set, both in Canada (57 per cent) and the US (47 per cent). The study also found that technology purchasers surveyed in the US admit to using webrooming less (64 per cent) and showrooming more (32 per cent) than their Canadian counterparts surveyed, demonstrating a higher comfort level purchasing tech products and services online.
“While low costs of online retailing are driving down prices in most industries, including technology, Canadians are still more comfortable making their tech purchases in a traditional setting,” said Amanda Shuchat, Senior Director, Citizen Relations. “This demonstrates Canadians remain skeptical of online shopping, likely fueled by recent high profile data breaches, so there is more to be done to build consumer trust and confidence. Whether that’s trusting in the retailer, manufacturer or their own shopping acumen is up for debate, and that is where Citizen Relations comes into play: Building trust among our clients and their consumers.”
As they sought out to better understand purchase decisions, influencers and the adoption curve with regards to technology, Citizen Relations developed a comprehensive survey looking at Canadian and American attitudes and behaviours toward consumer tech purchases. As a full-service public relations agency, the survey was designed to better understand human behaviour in this space with the goal of providing improved communications solutions to current and prospective clients.
“The approach used for the Citizen Tech provides interesting insights into the technology consumer, exploring the purchaser’s decision making process and storyline from awareness, through to transaction,” said Shuchat. “The further distribution of the respondents within the adoption cycle provides additional, in-depth information of what drives early adopters, the majority and laggards to make their technology purchases.”
Citizen Tech engaged 2,485 adults (1,219 Canadian, 1,266 American) to uncover their pre-purchase decisions for the technology they use. Respondents were classified as part of one of the below groups by answering a series of questions about their demongraphic and behaviours. The results reveal key insights on how we can better communicate with each group in both the US and Canada:
- Early adopters: A group that tends to be younger (mostly 18-34 years old, 46 per cent in Canada and 37 per cent in the US) and more open to trying new technologies as soon as they come out (401, Canada, and 418, US);
- The majority: A group that tends to be over 34 years old (75 per cent in Canada and 86 per cent in the US), more risk-averse, and prefers to see how a technology plays out before making their purchase decision (407, Canada and 430, US);
- Laggards: A group that tends to be much older (55+, 47 per cent in Canada and 62 per cent in the US) and among the last to adopt a new technology (411, Canada and 418, US).
Beyond insight into the traditional retail model, Citizen Tech reveals additional insights into consumer attitudes in this space:
INSIGHT: Influencing the influencers. Capturing the majority of the adoption cycle is necessary for a new piece of technology to become profitable. This group looks to the news for information (38 per cent of the Canadian majority surveyed), but also overwhelmingly says it makes its decisions based on the word-of-mouth opinions of early adopters (34 per cent of the Canadian majority). And what do early adopters rely on most? The news (61 per cent of Canadian early adopters surveyed).
INSIGHT: Canadians and Americans are not the same. Duh. Americans surveyed admit to doing less research and paying more attention to ads than their Canadian counterparts surveyed. In Canada, tech news is where most early adopters (61 per cent) and many of the majority (38 per cent) find out about new products and services. In the US, 52 per cent rely on news as a medium while advertisements tend to have slightly more pull than they do in Canada. Twenty per cent of early adopters and 22 per cent of the majority in the US find out about new tech from ads, versus 9 per cent early adopters and 13 per cent of the majority in Canada.
INSIGHT: Canadians aren’t impulsive, eh.
Making a big splash about a new technology product when it’s first released may not always be what’s most important. In fact, a whopping 83 per cent of Canadians surveyed prefer to see how a gadget or service plays out before purchasing it. They also claim to put a lot of thought into their purchases, with 1/3 (31 per cent) taking a few weeks to less than a month to pull the trigger.