Deloitte: Digital Influence Guides More Shoppers

Digital interactions influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores, which will represent $2.1 trillion by year’s end, according to a Deloitte study, and that’s way up from 14 cents of every dollar spent in 2013.

The study, “The New Digital Divide: The future of digital influence in retail,” suggests that the ability of retailers to influence consumer purchasing is decreasing. Digital platforms such as Facebook and Google today host real-time interactions with customers for several hours each day. As such, they are shaping and redefining the customer’s definition of a great experience through constant real-time connection.

As has been the case in the past, electronics remains the most digitally influenced category in the study. And the influence is gaining, as Internet interactions before purchase effect 69% of purchases made in the segment, up from 62% in 2015. However, two categories saw a rise in the digital influence: the grocery, food and beverage category, where the online effect jumped 49%, and the health and wellness category, where it gained 32%.

Market changes aren’t driven by younger consumers alone. The study identified 78% of non-Millennials as using digital devices either two or three times throughout their shopping trip. Data indicated that the age gap is shrinking for mobile device use in shopping trips.

In the study, two-thirds of respondents said they prefer a self-directed shopping journey, up from 30% in 2014.

The ability of retailers and vendors to influence shoppers through consumer advertising is among those capacities that is no longer as muscular today, Deloitte stated, as two years ago 70% of surveyed consumers said they respond to advertising compared to 30% in this year’s study.

On a potentially positive note for retailers and suppliers, the survey revealed a marked increase in consumer willingness to share data with 48% of shoppers generally and 58% of Millennials reporting that they would share data in return for personalized service and perks.

Deloitte commissioned the study conducted by an independent research company from April 25 to May 5 that engaged a sample of 5,014 random consumers across the U.S.