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The digital transformation is progressing well and the stationary market is being increasingly put under pressure. In particular, consumers continue to research and also purchase products and services online much more often — as shown from results from a current study done by the market research institute Facit Digital and the Serviceplan Consulting Group. The reasons for the increase in use of online offers are, in particular, the larger selection of products and quality — cheaper prices and time saving during shopping are no longer the main factors.

Munich, 1 December 2016 — In the study 'Omnishopper 2017', the market research institute Facit Digital and the Serviceplan Consulting Group analysed trends that stood out in the research and purchasing behaviour of German consumers: from a representative survey from 26 industries, information given by 1,500 participants indicated how they informed themselves of products and where they eventually purchased them—on the internet or rather in person at a retailer. The investigation is deeply psychologically concerned with linked purchasing behaviour and proves especially, that the classic distribution of roles between stationary and digital sales points has long lost its meaning: customers will continue to research and purchase products and services online much more often.

Three particularly distinct developments have become apparent, which will lead to further fundamental changes in the stationary market:

  1. The larger product selection and quality on the internet are now the strongest arguments for online purchasing—both were characteristics that were above all attributed to stationary markets until now. The typical reasons for online purchasing such as cheaper prices or considerable time saving, are receding.
  2. When the social environment shops on the internet readily and often, the people mutually orient themselves towards it. Today, online shopping is not only self evident it is effectively expected.
  3. Completely new industries are conquering the online market: the increase of online shoppers is unbroken in all categories. In the coming year, there will be a noticeable shift towards online shopping in the car industry and in chemist shop products. It is solely in the grocery category where there is little interest in internet purchasing.

"The stationary market will continue towards a crisis if online outstrips them in product selection and quality and if digital purchases become the norm. Companies in various industries should quickly develop concepts to enable them to adapt to this social transition. Starting with an addition of offline offers on the internet, towards the entire theme of omni-channel communication", said Michael Wörmann, CEO of Facit Digital.

"The customers in 2017 are Omnishoppers, who move about freely through media channels and combine them at their own convenience. A tailored strategy is important if this transition is to be mastered, a strategy that takes into account the needs of the Omnishoppers—because without the knowledge of the forms of media and channels they use, what their interests are, what they react to, and what they reject, etc., actions will make no sense", emphasises Thomas Zervos, the CEO of Serviceplan Consulting Group.

Alarming results — how brands nevertheless master the digital transition

The results from the study provide a deep insight into how consumers can be approached in the different industries, to achieve a truly successful networked shopping experience.

There are mainly three factors that affect the decision of consumers to shop on the internet: the 'expected use' (shopping on the internet does not only save time and money, but moreover offers, in particular, better product selection and/or product quality), the 'social norm' (people nearby also purchase products online, 'that is what do these days') and the 'expected simplicity' (one can shop on the internet easily and at any time).

Knowing how the individual variables in the different industries have an impact on the purchasing behaviour of consumers, strategies can be derived, to put requirements of the digital transition on their own marketing and sales.

About the study

In the population representative survey, 1,500 participants were surveyed on their research and purchasing behaviour in a total of 26 industries. Since some industries are further ahead of others in the digitalisation process, the first step was to examine how consumers' purchasing patterns differed between industries, and where the largest changes in habitual behaviour were to be expected. The psychological factors that influence the decisions of consumers to buy products and services online or offline were subsequently determined. The types of (marketing-) strategies that companies can use to best advance their digital transformation can be derived from the basis of this data. The study's underlying prediction model is based on an advancement of the 'Theory of Planned Behaviour', conceptualised by Icek Ajzen.


Florian Stemmler

Florian Stemmler
Corporate Communication & PR

+49 40 202288 8121

E-Mail: f.stemmler(at)serviceplan.com