Top consumer shopping trends and insights from Salesforce
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry
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Top consumer shopping trends and insights from Salesforce

Get ready for the upcoming winter shopping season.

November and December are the most critical time of the year for retailers. And as we enter into the thick of the winter shopping season, Salesforce has revealed some insightful data in consumer shopping trends in its third Connected Shoppers Report, which retailers can use to their advantage.

The first thing to note is that 76 percent of UAE shoppers plan to increase their holiday purchases via online marketplaces, and 48 percent of them will use Instagram as their main source for inspiration.

So when it comes to what you should be stocking up on, simply log on to Instagram and check out trending products for your target market. Afterall, purchases needs to be picture-worthy in today’s world.

The most important aspect to remember when it comes to winning in the retail sector is that shopping patterns have changed, and digital is a big part of that. Not only for inspiration, but also bargain hunting, reviews and browsing similar products.

Consumers are increasingly jumping across physical and digital destinations as they engage with brands. In fact, Salesforce shows that 14% of purchases occurring on emerging digital touchpoints are completely separate from retailers’ and brands’ owned properties, i.e. their own physical or digital stores.

“UAE shoppers are among the most digitally-savvy and brand conscious in the EMEA region, with our Connected Shoppers Report showing that they have the world’s highest average number of shopping apps, five, on their mobile devices. Retailers should forget about pulling shoppers only into their four walls. As winter holiday shopping approaches, brands, retailers, and online marketplaces must go wherever UAE shoppers are – in-store, mobile, social media – and become companies that consumers love.”
Thierry Nicault, Regional Vice-President Enterprise Business Unit for Middle East, Africa and Central Europe at Salesforce, said in a statement.

When it comes to offline retail, fear of missing out (FOMO) is increasingly playing a role. Whether that is a better price available online or a more perfect product. Retailers can use this to their advantage. For example, one can provide online only products or discounts that can attract consumers and boost purchases.

The Consumer Shoppers Report also revealed the top emerging trends for shopping in the UAE:

Retailers, Brands and Online Marketplaces Are Battling for Wallet Share: In an era of constant connectivity, hyper-personalized engagement, and new business models like direct-to-consumer for brands, shopping today looks nothing like its former self. 88% of UAE shoppers buy from a combination of retailers, brands, and online marketplaces.

Shopping is Evolving, as Consumers Define New Terms of Engagement: Today, retail is more than a transaction at a checkout counter. Vendor-shopper relationships are strengthened when consumers feel understood and special. In fact, 77% of UAE shoppers said they tend to shop with a specific brand in mind. The report shows that exclusive shopping experiences and promotions are a valuable way for companies to build loyalty (and lucrative) relationships.

Shopper Journeys Are Moving to the Edge of Vendor-owned Channels: Other research shows that the proliferation of digital touchpoints has led global consumers to use an average of 8 channels to communicate with companies. In the United Arab Emirates, 51% of shoppers use mobile wallet, 48% use social media, and 28% use messaging apps to make purchases

Stores Remain Critical as Discovery, Experience and Fulfillment Hubs: Brick-and-mortar stores remain as relevant as ever, with their roles evolving into hubs of discovery, experience and fulfillment. In the United Arab Emirates, the top reasons to shop in-store are to touch and feel the merchandise, the overall in-store experience, and to get merchandise immediately. The report also shows that 56% of UAE shoppers have purchased a product online for in-store pickup.

Purchase Preferences Vary Across Generations: Globally, the report found that generational differences reveal clues to future retail transformations as younger shoppers gain more purchasing power. Members of the silent and baby boomer generations are more likely to stick with traditional means of shopping, as expected.

However, all other generations — from Gen Xers to millennials and Gen Zers — are more likely to adopt new paths to purchase like mobile wallets, messaging apps and social media. Perhaps surprisingly, Gen Z is not leading the adoption of all emerging touchpoints. Voice assistants, video chat, chatbots, visual search and live-stream videos enjoy more popularity with Gen Xers and millennials than with Gen Zers.

The report also revealed that the top factors influencing include sales or promo codes, shopping apps, and what is available in stores. Furthermore, 83% of shoppers in the UAE expect to make purchases with a shopping app this season.

While it may be a little late to change plans for many retailers, it is recommended that they make digital adoption their top priority and become accessible to consumers online on multiple touchpoints.