Is the place people buy mobile phones changing?

Aishwarya Dabhade
May 28, 2021, 2:15 PM UTC

According to a recent survey by YouGov, more than half of consumers in 17 global markets (54%) still prefer in-store shopping to online purchases (38%) - yet tthe pandemic has undoubtedly changed how the world shops. 

A recently released white paper by YouGov on fast-moving consumer goods quantifies the global population’s shift from in-store purchases to online transactions in areas as wide as clothing, personal care products, groceries, and medicines. But data we reveal today shows a similar trend can be found in another area of shopping - specifically mobile phone purchases. New figures from YouGov show that in most of the markets we polled (11 out of 17), consumers prefer shopping online for mobile phones to an in-store experience.  

India tops the list as the country with the highest proportion of consumers who have bought a mobile online in the past three months – 12% of Indians have done so compared to 10% who have done so in a physical store. But it is in other countries that the difference is more pronounced. In the UK and Germany, shoppers have been much more likely to purchase handsets online, rather than in-store – but that is probably because of the markets’ significant lockdowns.  

In other markets, though, the in-store experience remains king. In Indonesia, for example, 8% of shoppers have bought a phone in-store, compared to just one in twenty (5%) who have done so in-store. In UAE, the differential is similar – 12% vs. 8%.  

Consumers in the US are divided, with the same proportion (9%) having bought online as in-store over the last quarter. Other countries where there is no significant difference between the percentage of adults that chose online vs in-store are Poland, Italy, China, Sweden, France, and Denmark. 

As our white paper reveals, physical experience of the product is the primary reason for six in ten people globally to go to bricks and mortar retail stores. The primary reason for choosing online shopping? Six in ten (57%) people globally prefer online shopping thanks to the convenience of home delivery.  

 

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 1540 and 12155 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in April 2021 to May 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.