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UK consumers embracing technology, says KPMG

UK consumers are embracing technology at a faster pace than many other countries according to a global survey of shopping habits by KPMG.

According to the report, which surveyed 9,600 consumers in 31 countries ranging in age from 16 to over 65, UK consumers and businesses are ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new technologies as online shopping and the use of social media are more widespread in the UK than in other parts of the globe.

However, UK consumers are also more price conscious when it comes to choosing new devices and services, and appear more concerned about privacy and security.

In the UK 74% of consumers said they were more likely to buy flights and vacations online (globally 70%), 77% prefer to buy CDs, DVDs, books and video games online (65% globally).

However, the majority of respondents said they prefer to purchase luxury goods in store and four in 10 consumers still seem to shun online grocery shopping.

Tudor Aw, KPMG’s European head of technology, said: “The survey reveals that consumers around the globe adopt new technologies at a rapid pace and at the same time are increasingly willing to accept their data to be tracked if they get something in return.

“However, the report also shows that consumers’ concerns over privacy and data security have increased over the last few years and companies across all sectors need to take this concern seriously. Whether its retailers or banks, consumers want transparency as to what companies do about data security and they want third parties to certify this security.”

The survey also reveals the extent to which smartphones and tablets are changing shopping behaviour.

When shopping at retail outlets, 45% of UK respondents said they now use their mobile devices to locate the nearest store, 32% to research products and services, 30% for online coupons and one in five (19%) scan in barcodes for product information. Globally 41% research products & services and almost a quarter pay with their mobile devices.

When buying products or services the majority of customers in the UK and globally consult feedback and ratings pages on the internet or get information on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Monitoring and managing third party information sources will therefore be a key element of any digital sales strategy.

Aw said: “From buying goods on their mobile phones to keeping up with friends on social networks, consumers are increasingly reliant on a range of technologies that perform important – yet often overlapping – tasks.

“This new ‘converged lifestyle’ will have huge implications for retailers. The integration of various channels will become increasingly important as retailers begin to see many of their consumers move to online and application-based purchases. As the ubiquitous smartphones empowers the consumer retailers will need to understand the opportunities and risks that mobile devices present.”

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