Key findings

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Our 2016 survey uncovered 6 key findings for retailers to leverage in the race for relevance. Shoppers told us they want convenience at an affordable price. They want a trip to the store to be worth the effort, with trained employees to help sort through options–because they could just as easily go to a movie or stay home and shop online. They want to feel an emotional connection with their favorite brand because it stands for the values they believe in. And they want to be part of a larger online community where they share ideas and aspirations.

1. Global trends set a high bar for US mobile commerce

Only 26% of US shoppers say their mobile phone will become their main purchasing tool in the future while 59% of Chinese shoppers, 68% of Indian shoppers, and 36% of Turkish shoppers do.  One reason for the lag in US mobile purchasing, is the lack of convenient mobile purchasing options, such as “buy” buttons and mobile wallets, commonly used in China, which allow consumers to move seamlessly between chatting about a product and buying it, all within a mobile app.

2. Digital natives lead the mobile commerce charge

Born after 1980, digital natives grew up with technology at their fingertips—which makes them more facile with all things digital. No surprise then that millennials, aged 18-34, use their mobile device as a shopping tool far more than older shoppers.  Almost 40% buy products online monthly while close to 30% shop online weekly.  

3. How online shoppers define value

When it comes to online shopping, Americans value convenience above all else: 58% of our survey respondents say convenience is the main reason they shop online, with price a distant second at 32%. US Shoppers ranked innovative delivery options high on the list of their favorite retailers; from crowdsourced last-mile delivery or free shipping and returns—to curb-side pickup, or delivery within hours of ordering a product.

4. Entice me in, then keep me interested so I’ll stay

Respondents in our survey said the top two factors that enhance their in-store shopping experience are ease of checkout (46%) and sales associates with deep product knowledge (41%).  The ability to check other store or online stock quickly, and fast, simple login for in-store WiFi, are desirable but rank lower than human interaction with knowledgeable associates.

5. Brand trust requires continual attention

Our Total Retail survey found that brand trust is among the top three reasons consumers shop at their favorite retailers.  PwC’s analysis of 6,700 brands found that over the past 15 years, brands that are considered leaders by consumers have grown in value at nearly five times the rate of the average S&P 500 company.  With new entrants popping up at a moment’s notice to eclipse established brands, brand trust is ever more in need of constant nurturing.

6. Social commerce: The power of community

Consumers have an appetite for social commerce, that fusion of online social communities with seamless purchasing capability.  More than two-thirds of US respondents in our survey said social media influences their online shopping behavior—slightly lower than global shoppers—ranking reviews and feedback their foremost activity at 40%, followed by browsing promotional offerings at 37%, and checking digital ads at 26%.

Contact us

Byron Carlock, Jr.

Real Estate Leader, PwC US

Scott Bauer

Principal Customer Impact Practice, PwC US

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