IBM Survey: Frugal, Yet Optimistic Shoppers Driving Smarter Retail Through Technology and Mobility

MARKHAM, ON, March 2, 2011 — An annual IBM (NYSE: IBM) global survey of 30,000 consumers in 13 countries, including more than 2,000 Canadians, reveals shoppers here are adopting new shopping technologies faster than most. In fact, the number of Canadians willing to use mobile technologies to shop increased by 160 per cent year-to-year, second only to the US in uptake.
The survey also shows the number of Canadian "instrumented" consumers—who use two or more technologies such as a website, mobile device or in-store kiosk—increased by 65 per cent over last year's results, almost double the global result, which reported a 36 per cent increase year-to-year.
"It would appear Canadians' conservative attitude toward adopting new consumer technologies is changing rapidly to the point that consumers are ahead of retailers," says John Dawkins, IBM's Canadian retail sector lead. "Wider access to bandwidth at lower rates, an increase in the number of Canadian wireless service providers, adoption of social media and a comparatively faster economic recovery are driving the emergence of a more complex, competitive and sophisticated shopper."

The study reveals a portrait of the quintessential Canadian shopper: female; frugal but optimistic about her income; influenced more by family and friends' opinions than retailers; and who regularly shops for more than people in her household such as parents or grandchildren.

The survey polled consumers from a dozen other countries, including both mature and emerging markets and show globally, shoppers have adopted attitudes during the recession that continue to dictate their behavior: they buy what they need, search for items on sale and wait longer to purchase; and they have embraced the use of technology throughout the process to save time and enhance the experience.

Other findings include:

"A new approach to customer intimacy is critical in the new economic environment and this necessitates a stronger commitment than ever before. Organizations that are best at extracting previously undiscovered insights from vast amounts of customer information have a huge advantage in deepening existing connections and creating new relationships," said Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada.

The IBM survey of 30,624 consumers was conducted in October 2010 in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom and United States.

About IBM: For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm/com/industries/ca/retail.

Contact information:

Leslie Plant
IBM Canada Ltd.
416-478-9840
416-526-5647 laplant@ca.ibm.com