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Spur-of-the-moment Brits buy groceries on impulse according to Microsoft Advertising research

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By Gillian West, Social media manager

February 8, 2013 | 2 min read

Despite the economic climate Brits are increasingly ditching the shopping list and reaching for impulse buys when doing the weekly shop according to new research from Microsoft Advertising.

The study found that despite the announcement of a triple-dip recession in the UK, 90 per cent of shoppers go ‘off list’ and make snap decisions about purchases.

The ‘Mobile Consumer Journey’ research surveyed 3,500 people and their use of mobile platforms whilst supermarket shopping.

Faye Weeks, senior marketing research intelligence manager, Microsoft’s Advertising and Online Division, commented: “The Mobile Consumer Journey research raises many interesting findings for brands and advertisers alike. On one hand you have the ‘head driven’ consumer, analytically studying and comparing prices whilst on the move and downloading money off coupons. At the same time, 90 per cent of us go ‘off list’ and buy items that we hadn’t planned to. In retail, clearly the heart very often still overrules the head and everyone is susceptible to the allure of impulse buys.”

Almost half (40 per cent) of consumers were found to use their mobile to compare prices when shopping, 20 per cent said they would like the option to pay for their grocery shopping via shopping and 17 per cent said they would find it useful to be able to download nutritional information about products in store.

One in five UK consumers (19 per cent) has ditched paper based shopping lists in favour of electronic notes on their handsets, according to the results. With a further 16 per cent using money-off coupons direct from their phone.

As well as the UK, mobile users in the US, Brazil, South Korea and Japan were also surveyed, with the results showing that Koreans were most likely to use their mobiles to compare price (67 per cent) and download vouchers (69 per cent). Brazilians were most likely to manage their shopping lists (58 per cent) and pay via mobile (45 per cent).

Weeks adds: “The study found that on average 30 per cent of consumers in the countries surveyed are already managing their shopping list on their mobile and up to 70 per cent have downloaded vouchers. These numbers will continue to grow and it is a compelling incentive for brands to have the development of mobile advertising and retail promotional strategies front of mind.”

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