A survey of 1000 digital shoppers from leading retail and shopper marketing agency, Savvy Marketing examines the emerging digital shopper marketing landscape and considers the major implications.

“Smartphones and tablets have become a ubiquitous part of people’s lives, with shoppers now instinctively turning to their phones throughout the day for a multitude of reasons. As these devices have become more powerful, shoppers are increasingly looking to them to carry out a much wider range of tasks,” said Alastair Lockhart, Insight Director at Savvy Marketing. “Our research looks deeper into shoppers’ expectations of technology and functionalities that they’re looking for retailers and brands to provide moving forwards.”


Key findings include:


  • Smartphone ownership reaching critical mass:


  • 71 percent of all UK shoppers now own a smartphone. This is expected to rise to 78 percent by the end of 2014.

  • 73 percent of male shoppers own a smartphones versus 69 percent of female shoppers.

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly the youngest shopper group in the research (18-24 year olds) owned the most smartphones – at 87 percent. Interestingly though, penetration amongst the oldest group (65 to 74 year olds), was still substantial at 49 percent.


  • Tablet ownership on the up and up:


  • Tablet ownership has grown at a rapid pace. 59 percent of UK households now have at least one tablet and this is expected to rise to 71 percent by the end of 2014.

  • The age group with the highest tablet penetration were the 25-34 year old shoppers, with 68 percent. Lowest penetration was amongst 65-74 year olds with 44 percent.


  • The appeal of digital shopper marketing initiatives


  • The most significant finding of our research is the scale and scope of shoppers’ latent demand for digital shopper marketing. The graph shows the proportion of all UK shoppers that find various potential digital shopper marketing initiatives appealing. Across the board, appeal is high – particularly compared to when we asked the same question at the beginning of 2012 when it appealed to just 24 percent of shoppers.

  • The most attractive digital marketing initiative to all UK shoppers (including those that don’t own a smartphone) is the idea of receiving targeted coupons to their smartphones – 65 percent. In second place is the idea of receiving a targeted coupon directly to your smartphone whilst instore (64 percent) and in third place is using a smartphone to help shoppers locate something they’re looking for instore (59 percent).


  • Who do shoppers trust to deliver the digital campaigns?


  • Grocery retailers are trusted the most by UK shoppers to deliver digital marketing campaigns direct to their smartphones (68 percent).

  • Loyalty card providers come in second place with 58 percent. 

  • Just 32 percent of UK shoppers trusted brands to carry out these types of campaigns.

  • Interestingly 24 percent of shoppers said that they wouldn’t trust any of the groups specified to deliver digital campaigns.


Lockhart commented: “Our research shows the scale and scope of shoppers’ increased demand for digital shopper marketing – they truly are open to receiving personalised, relevant and timely marketing communications that inspire purchases in new ways. Retailers, who are the closest to the shopper, need to facilitate and lead this fundamental change. Brands on the other hand, also need to up their game. We see them taking more of a partnership role with these types of initiatives in conjunction with retailers – rather than expecting shoppers to download numerous apps for each brand owner, making it unnecessarily complex.


Digital shopper marketing is no longer the future, but the very present. It is set to fundamentally reshape the way that grocery retailers and brands communicate with shoppers.  Indeed we believe it has the potential to be the most significant development since the arrival of self-service supermarkets. Exciting times ahead!”

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