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A large volume of modern literature in the field of e-commerce indicates that consumers still prefer using computers when shopping online compared to such mobile devices as smartphones and tablets. Nevertheless, the use of mobile technologies for making online purchases continues to increase. Like almost everywhere in the world, in the UAE, smartphones, and tablets are now deeply integrated into various everyday activities of people and became an intrinsic part of their lives. The given trend and recent advances in mobile technologies provide retailers with many opportunities to reach new consumer groups, increase sales and profits. To facilitate the shift in consumer behaviors and encourage them to use mobile devices when shopping online more frequently, it is essential to know what benefits and drawback can smartphones and tablets have compared to PCs. The knowledge may help create new approaches towards the promotion of e-commerce among different population groups in the UAE.
To ensure greater generalization of findings, a simple randomized sampling technique was used. The total number of participants was 33, and all of them were females. The study participants were asked to complete surveys that comprised questions regarding their demographic features and preferred tools for online shopping, as well as factors defining their preferences, i.e., convenience, interface friendliness, previous technology experience, accessibility, etc.
The quantitative design methodology was employed to analyze the collected data. The linear regression was administered to examine the links between distinct covariates, i.e., age, time spent for online shopping, etc., and the numeric outcome (the use of a particular device). The mean numbers for two groups of participants of different age (18-34 years old and 35-44 years old) were calculated and compared by using the t-test.
The research evidence is rather inconsistent with the findings of the literature review. While the United Parcel Service states that customers still prefer using computers over mobile devices (12), our study indicates that the majority of the participants (42.42%) usually use only mobile apps for online shopping, and merely 6.06% shop only via their computers. The findings also showed that most of the purchasers who prefer using mobile devices belong to the demographic group, age 18-34 years. The given age group is also commonly called as Millennials. According to Cabrera et al., not only Millennial consumers show a high level of online shopping activity compared to the offline shopping but are also characterized by a strong connectedness to various mobile internet devices (5). It may be considered a core characteristic of the given population group that distinguishes them from other generations.
However, the highest percentage of participants (51.52%) demonstrated the preference in combining two different types of devices for online shopping. The number may imply that shoppers can use computers and tablets/smartphones complementary to each other to compensate deficiencies associated with both kinds of technology. As stated by Batkovic and Batkovic, “unsophisticated payment solutions, non-compatible websites, small screen-sizes, and a general lack of trust around credit and security” are the major barriers to a greater attraction of customers to mobile-retail environments (1). Additionally, Pantano and Priporas note that consumers may tend to reject mobile retailing due to a low level of trust in the transaction, privacy concerns and network security (550). It means that in order to minimize those risks and increase the efficiency of product search, people may switch from one device to another. However, it is possible to say that the factors of interface design and the overall compatibility of websites with different screens and systems may play a crucial role in attracting consumers to mobile retail environments as well. For instance, the use of “buy buttons” on the online platforms (Meola), offerings of discounts for purchases through mobile apps (Alibaba Group), etc. can stimulate the desired shift in consumers’ acceptance behaviors.
The research findings have multiple theoretical and practical implications. First of all, it is evident that online marketers and retailers should aim to stimulate more positive perceptions of mobile retail environments in different consumer groups. While it may be easier to engage younger consumers in online shopping, older individuals may be more reluctant to embrace changes. However, it is possible to say that to increase online shopping activity in different population groups, first of all, it is required to make more user-friendly interfaces and increase mobile transaction security.
Nevertheless, since the observed cross-device behavior currently prevails among purchasers, retailers should construct strong presence on multiple channels to meet customer needs more efficiently. Additionally, since Millennials can be considered early adopters of mobile retail usage, retailers and marketers can study them as a reference group to other potential adopters. Therefore, the further research of younger customers’ preferences and perceptions of mobile online shopping may be of great use for developing new effective e-commerce promotion strategies. The further research may also focus on testing of newly developed models targeted at the elimination of specific risks, e.g., lack of privacy, across various samples. In this way, it will be possible to deepen the understanding of factors that may define individual preferences and acceptance behaviors.
Alibaba Group. “Don’t Have Our App Yet?” Aliexpress, Web.
Batkovic, Irena, and Renata Batkovic. Understanding Consumer Acceptance of Mobile-Retail: An Empirical Analysis of the Revised Technology Acceptance Model. 2015, Web.
Cabrera, Giovanna, Katia Gutiérrez, and Pedro Guzmán Espinal. Millennial Generation and the Mobile Internet Devices in Shopping Activities. 2015, Web.
Meola, Andrew. “The Rise of M-Commerce: Mobile Shopping Stats & Trends.” Business Insider. 2016, Web.
Pantano, Eleonora, and Constantinos-Vasilios Priporas. “The Effect of Mobile Retailing on Consumers Purchasing Experiences: A Dynamic Perspective.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 61, 2016, pp. 548–555.
United Parcel Service. UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™: A Customer Experience Study. 2014, Web.