How many of us are guilty of bringing out our phone, almost reflexively with a meek let-me-just-check-I’m-not-being-swindled-adeptness, in a store for price comparison? In fact, PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse survey reveals that nearly 50% of Indian consumers are culpable of this brazen act.

“Around 5 in 10 Indian consumers almost always or frequently use their smartphone in-store for price comparison or to view live product reviews via social media before they make a purchase,” reveals the latest findings of the report.

Furthermore, for 5 in 10 Indian consumers, e-commerce websites and search engines are the top sources of pre-purchase information, while 3 in 10 check in with their family, friends and colleagues before deciding on a purchase. Additionally, nearly 4 out of 10 Indian consumers are influenced by traditional TV and sponsored social media advertisements before rendering a purchase decision.

Interestingly, in India, 65% of consumers have purchased products directly from a brand’s website, with products related to food and beverage (38%), and clothing and accessories (37%) being the top picks. Electronics (36%), beauty and personal care (35%), and home furnishing (28%) are also popular categories that draw Indian buyers to a brand website.

Meanwhile, about 65% of consumers in India, compared with 50% globally, said they planned to increase their online shopping in the next six months with the majority expecting no change to their shopping channel behaviour. 

This brings into focus the factors that influence the point of decision in the consumer’s pre-purchase journey and brings into question what companies need to do to connect with consumers at the onset of the purchasing process and address their point of decision.

“At the heart of this revelation is a clear directive: With consumers progressively harnessing the digital sphere to meticulously research products prior to purchase, businesses are tasked with choreographing the pre-purchase consumer odyssey,” says Ravi Kapoor, partner and leader - Retail & Consumer, PwC India.

Quick Fix

As consumers increasingly turn to the internet to research products before buying them, businesses now need to premeditate and orchestrate the pre-purchase consumer experience.

Market leaders also need to prioritise online presence to adapt to changing consumer expectations. They should leverage emerging technologies such as the metaverse and generative artificial intelligence (AI) in customer relationship management (CRM) and meet consumer expectations on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues and sustainability, suggests the report.

Throwing light on modern consumers’ behavior, the survey reveals that millennials and Gen Z, who typically espouse social consciousness and environmental justice, were the most open to spending more for the sake of sustainability.

Kapoor further elucidates, “By strategically investing in potent search engine optimisation techniques, retailers can ensure heightened product visibility and organically boost traffic. Simultaneously, market leaders must cement their virtual foothold, nimbly adapting to the constantly evolving expectations of the modern consumer.”

The Global Consumer Insights Survey is a biannual study that seeks to keep a closer watch on changing consumer trends. For the June 2023 Pulse Survey, PwC polled 8,975 consumers across 25 countries and territories. A total of 501 respondents were from India.

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