There is no doubt that the added connectivity that comes with the internet has changed the way we socialise, consume media, and well, do just about everything. Now, instead of going to the supermarket to get an extra bottle of laundry detergent, we have devoted devices that consist of a single button whose purpose is to wirelessly one-click-order an extra bottle of Tide on expedited service through Amazon. Instead of going to the cinema with a friend, we can watch avatars of ourselves and other buddies in a virtual cinema while we digitally stream the latest Hollywood offering to our Occulus Rift virtual reality device via Netflix. Welcome to the 21st century.
Without debating the overall effect of whether this technology represents in overall positive trend in terms of the way we interact with one another, the internet has doubtlessly afforded us consumers greater numbers of ways to do things; the bottom line is we have more options to do what we want where want, when we want.
Mobiles are a big part of that equation. We have computers in our pockets, and of course those computers are all connected to the world wide web. They also have barcode scanners for comparing prices at other retailers, cameras that can scan popular products and so that consumers can really see how healthy their food is, and NFC chips to be able to effortlessly pay for transactions without bringing along wallets or purses. Again, there are more options and more convenience.
Yet, traditionally men have been more involved in emerging tech, consuming more for their rigs, their entertainment systems, and generally being more plugged in. That is starting to change. Stay at home mothers can alter their shopping habits by not even leaving their home. And when we play games on our devices, another sector typically dominated by men but progressively more marketed towards women, we shop in the sense that we buy the game or spend money in it. Casinos are a perfect example of this trend, where mobile devices manufactured by Google and Apple are kings of the arena. Take for example the Casinoroller’s editor that says that the two ‘dominate the market for mobile devices.’ These are the same devices that we might play a round or two of blackjack when waiting in the checkout line.
Games and other traditionally men-dominated markets are not the only areas women are using their mobile devices to shop in. The clichés about women who spend lots of time in department stores picking out the perfect chique dress is changing as well. Now, women take photos of things with their devices to solicit feedback and opinions from peers. The ‘dressing room selfie’ is a new phenomenon, a way for women to showcase a potential purchase without necessarily having to spend a dime; if it does turn out to be well-liked by family and friends, then perhaps they will go for it. For the types of consumer products that would have a consumer review written for it, like an electronic device, women are also increasingly using their smart phones to read about how well said product was received.
This is all good news for vendors too. According to a study by GfK, half of mobile shoppers are more likely to purchase something when they can consult reviews, trusted advice from peers, or extra information about the product. This makes sense; the more people are informed, the more they can feel confident in spending their hard-earned cash on a new purchase. Stores should be encouraging this kind of activity, even having QR codes or URLs to check out favourable opinions of certain products next to the display. Mobile coupons and digital loyalty programs via app download or the like can also spur on shopping habits, according to the same study. No doubt about it, mobile devices drive up the female consumer’s propensity to buy more things, which comes as welcome news to device manufacturers and malls across the globe.