By Zsarlene B. Chua

GOOGLE Philippines recently revealed a study how mobile devices — tablets, phablets, phones, etc. — affect the Filipino consumer behavior and turn them into “supershoppers,” or shoppers who’ve done their research and are therefore more informed and efficient.

Paris-based global market research and consulting firm IPSOS conducted the “Micro-moments” survey during the first half of the year which covered the entire Asian region.

“Micro-moments” are defined as “those intent-rich moments when people turn to their smartphones to learn, discover, or buy something,” according to a company release.

In the Philippines, the survey was done with 1,000 respondents “representative of the Filipino online population,” according to Gabriel “Gabby” Roxas, country marketing manager for Google Philippines, during a briefing on Oct. 26 at the Shangri-La the Fort in Bonifacio Global City.

The study highlighted four points: first, that “supershoppers” are super fast and decide what they want quickly (82% of the respondents agreed); but they tend to, second, keep their options open as mobiles make it easier to explore options.

In fact, “after researching online, 72% of mobile shoppers in the Philippines (compared to just 33% in the US) purchased a brand they would otherwise not have considered [which was] discovered during a smartphone search,” said the release.

“When you’re researching online, you have the perception of what it is physically and when you’re in front of it… you’re likely to buy the one [you’ve done research on] but then when you get [to actually buying it] you can still change your mind,” Mr. Roxas told BusinessWorld shortly after the event.

Doing research on the products and poring over reviews is part of the whole buying process now, he explained, but said that despite doing all that research, shoppers still keep their options open.

“[Shoppers] want more information now,” he said before adding, “Just looking for recommendations online, seeing one star out of five is already a big no-no for most consumers and the reverse is also true.”

Mr. Roxas said that he thinks the online giant Amazon was the pioneer in terms of having on-site reviews of products.

The third point of the study was that these brand of shoppers used to “thumb through catalogs or stare longingly at the Christmas displays” said the release but those days are now long gone as shoppers use their mobile devices for inspiration on what to buy before heading to the store — which leads to the fourth point: that while more and more people are willing to buy using their mobiles to access e-commerce sites, the device “is still used predominantly as a door to the store, with 78% of the respondents using their mobile devices to locate a store with 80% saying that they still consult their devices while in stores so the experience does not stop at the door.

“The implication for me is for [businesses] to look back and really try to understand what that whole process is for their customers and ensuring that they have presence in those moments where they can finally convince the consumer to purchase their product/s,” Mr. Roxas said.

“So it’s all about knowing your consumer and ensuring that all your bases are covered,” he explained before adding, “Each of the touch points have their own roles to play but it’s really making the most out of the mobile opportunity — that they’re seen in the mobile screen, that it’s easy for them to access your product on the mobile screen.”