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  • Maëlle Chetal Gaillard

43% of Consumers Use Their Mobile Phone to Pay for Purchases

The 15th Global Shopper Study reveals that consumers are returning to shops in similar numbers to before the pandemic. Shoppers are adopting self-service habits and making greater use of do-it-yourself (DIY) technology in shops, allowing employees to spend more time on the ground directing shoppers.

Zebra reveals its research into the shopping behaviour of consumers around the world. Returning to shops is a reality, although 75% of consumers surveyed said that inflation is causing them to put off purchases. More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) say they want to stay in the store for as little time as possible. Alongside this, the use of self-service solutions is increasing: almost half of consumers say they have used self-checkouts and almost 4 in 10 have used cashless payment methods.

77% of retailers surveyed are considering replacing traditional checkouts with automated alternatives

43% of consumers surveyed prefer to pay with a mobile/smartphone device (up 23 points since 2019) and half prefer automatic checkouts (up 19 points since 2019). The preference for a traditional checkout is down 20 points compared to 2019. A large majority of retailers (77%) believe that staffed checkouts are becoming less necessary due to automation technologies. Nearly half are reorganising their shops by converting traditional checkout areas to self-service and contactless options.

Both physical and digital retailers favoured

Zebra's research points to the fact that consumers want a seamless shopping experience, regardless of how they shop. Seven out of ten people prefer to shop both in-store and online. They prefer e-tailers with physical shops. The convenience offered by this type of retailer is highly valued: 75% of consumers surveyed prefer to have a delivery option for items and 64% opt for retailers offering click & collect. The same applies to reverse logistics: eight out of ten consumers prefer to buy from retailers with a return policy that is considered simple. The era of fragmented omnichannel operations no longer reflects the way people shop today," said Matthew Guiste, Head of Sales and Industry at Zebra Technologies. A unified business approach can help retailers meet the needs of consumers, whether they are shopping online, in-store, on social media or on their phones, to improve their overall experience."

In turn, nearly half of the merchants surveyed set aside space in their shops for in-store pick up, supporting consumer preferences for order fulfilment. Smartphone ordering continues to grow, with more than eight in ten consumers and nine in ten millennials using this method. Of these, seven in ten would like to see more retailers offering it.

Eight in ten consumers order using their smartphone

While nearly eight out of ten shoppers are concerned about inflation-driven price increases on basic necessities, they are not shying away from these items. Employees surveyed in the study say that complaints about stock-outs are the biggest frustration for consumers. Retailers are recognising this, with 80% acknowledging that maintaining real-time visibility of out-of-stocks is a major challenge and stating that they need better inventory management tools in terms of accuracy and availability.

Valuing human resources

Seven out of ten retailers surveyed say they are satisfied with the support they receive from their employees, compared to only 37% in 2007. Most employees surveyed (78%) and industry decision-makers (84%) say that shops that leverage technology and mobile devices attract and retain more employees. To improve the shopping experience, eight out of 10 retailers surveyed plan to allow more employees or seasonal staff to prepare or process orders online for the 2022 holiday season, and assist customers.

The survey results differ by region of the world

In Asia Pacific, 80% of merchants recognise staff training and development as a significant challenge. APAC consumers plan to do 54% of their Christmas shopping in-store.

After APAC (68%), Europe (69%) is the region where the impact of inflation on postponing purchases is the lowest compared to other regions. More than six out of ten European employees agree that managing online order returns is a major challenge.

Only 68% of merchants surveyed in Latin America see a decrease in shoppers' consumption due to inflation (compared to 82% globally). Nine out of ten consumers in Latin America use mobile shopping, making it the world's largest market.

Finally, in North America, 69% of consumers surveyed would like to see more merchants offer mobile shopping. More than 90% of decision makers surveyed say they are increasing the speed and convenience of holiday fulfillment options.


4,200 global retail consumers, employees and decision makers were surveyed for this study between June and July 2022 by Azure Knowledge Corporation.

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