navigating the new digital divide


Navigating the new digital divide: Global edition

A global summary of findings from nine countries on digital influence in retail

The Global edition of this report explores the digital preferences of consumers, especially how the use of digital devices impacts in-store shopping behavior. It is based on a survey of thousands of consumers in nine different worldwide markets.

For over three years, Deloitte has been exploring the digital preferences of consumers, especially how the use of digital devices impacts in-store shopping behavior. Findings from this research show that digital technology, along with easy access to digital information, not only affects sales within digital channels, but also has a much broader impact – a “digital influence” – on in-store sales and in-store consumer behavior.

The data makes clear the growing importance of digital, and indicates a rapidly evolving retail landscape. The industry is accelerating toward a day where 100 percent of shoppers will be connected 100 percent of the time. This development is transformative in nature, and is true not only in the US market, but internationally as well.

This report is based on data collected during late 2014 and early 2015 by surveying consumers in nine key global retail markets: United States, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Australia, China, and India. This provided millions of comparative points of data representing both mature markets and markets emerging technologically.

While there are natural cultural and economic differences, there is virtually complete alignment across those markets regarding digital influence on in-store behavior. It suggests that retailers continue to dramatically underestimate the impact the onslaught of digital is having on the industry.

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The report identifies three important trends related to the impact that digital is having on in-store shopping around the globe.

  • There is no single path toward digital adoption or optimization.

While all countries studied are heading in the direction of increased digital adoption and usage, the progression sometimes goes at a different pace or follows a different route, depending on the country. In some cases, emerging markets appear to skip adoption stages experienced previously by developed markets.

  • One digital “size” does not fit all customers within a given market.

Even within the context of a market, digital behavior varies based on personal context – who the consumer is, what stage in the process, and what he or she is looking to buy. In addition, categories matter, as consumers use digital tools differently based on the product type.

  • Consumers are demanding digital tools and features.

Consumers are using digital to make decisions and plan their spending in ways beyond the control of retailers. The use of third-party social media, for example, has an impact on shopping and buying decisions. Simply creating a unique app is not going to reshape or contain consumer behavior.

In addition to the Global edition of Navigating the New Digital Divide, Deloitte is publishing country-specific results that are primarily focused on the trends and data concerning that country. For more information about those markets, click the links below.

Country-specific results

Meet the author

Kasey Lobaugh

Chief Innovation Officer | Retail & Distribution

Kasey serves as the chief retail innovation officer and omni-channel retail practice leader for Deloitte Consulting LLP. He works with many retailers to drive strategic perspectives and organizational change. He consults with clients to think about the implications of the changing competitive landscape and the rapidly evolving consumer. He focuses on broad business-based strategy that will enable innovative customer experiences, operational scalability, and provide return-on-investment.

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