The rapid adoption of mobile search across Asia-Pacific means brands have more chances than ever to secure consumers during their entire path to purchase, according to Google’s inaugural study on the issue, in conjunction with Kantar TNS.
The report – which surveyed 26,000 respondents across 17 industries in 14 APAC markets – found that APAC consumers are consistently using online search as their preferred method of research before purchase, but also that the research continues throughout the consumer journey, sometimes right as far as the point of purchase.
Focusing insights specifically on two markets, baby care – a regular purchase – and financial products – an infrequent purchase - Google found that almost a quarter of baby care purchasers continue to use online search in-store, while 18 percent visit a brand’s website in store. For financial products, both figures stand at 23 percent.
Katrien Bollen, performance ads marketing lead at Google APAC, told Campaign Asia-Pacific the statistics should give a clear indicator to brands.
“Be there across all moments once consumers go to their smartphones,” she said. “Brands still have a chance to influence consumers’ minds, from the first moment all the way to the checkout.”
In addition, although consumers have brand preferences in mind, 30 percent of baby care shoppers and 23 percent of financial product buyers are open to new brands, illustrating a key opportunity for brands to engage with consumers despite not being top-of-mind.
However, there is no substitute for “being part of that first consideration”, Bollen said. The study found that shoppers will have as many as three brands in mind when thinking about buying a product, and that 86 percent of baby care and 77 percent of financial product consumers usually buy one of those first three brands.
Bollen added that context was key regarding mobile research, with almost two-thirds of APAC consumers in both categories doing it at home, showing that research is “very deliberate” even though it is mobile, and not done ad hoc or in a rush.
“Brands need to look across the whole journey, and be there in that very last moment,” she said. “But be smart about it. Use all the data points around intent and context, and deliver smart messages.”
Another ongoing trend for APAC consumers is the preference for buying offline, despite researching online. The study found that seven in 10 consumers research online while in stores at the final stage of their path to purchase. Specifically within baby care and financial products, it was 51 percent and 42 percent respectively.
“Online to offline is such a critical thing for brands in APAC,” Bollen said. “Online research is clearly very important, but brands have to connect that to the offline purchase.”