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Visa Study Shows Connected Devices are Changing Shopping Habits

The Visa report found that online purchases via any connected device is preferred over physical stores in a variety of categories including electronics, household furnishings and entertainment.

Shopping habits are changing far more rapidly than anyone can imagine, with consumers understanding the convenience and advantages connected devices offer, according to a June report from Visa and called “How We Will Pay.” Based on the findings, you may agree that for many Americans, the study should be entitled “How We Are Paying.”

The study surveyed roughly 2,600 U.S. smartphone users age 18 and older in May. It found that more than 80 percent of Americans have a strong interest in using connected devices to make purchases. Visa said in a release that it has signed several global partners into its token service provider program to “bring payments to new form factors as the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves alongside consumers’ growing appetite for all things digital.”

The report concludes that as voice-controlled assistants and wearable devices become more common, consumers will  save time and increase their efficiency with daily tasks. Visa found that 75 percent of consumers have at least one connected device in addition to their smartphones, computers or tablets and that 83 percent of those surveyed say these devices save time and “reduce friction” when making purchases.

Visa highlighted three significant findings in its report:

Connected device ownership is an increasing trend. The average consumer owns 4.4 connected devices including game consoles (47 percent), activity trackers (41 percent), smartwatches (15 percent), voice-controlled assistants (14 percent), connected thermostats (nine percent) and virtual reality headsets (seven percent). 

Consumers with more connected devices make more purchases. Connected consumers also make more purchases across more product categories than those with just one connected device.

Buying things, using a connected device is widespread. In 11 out of 19 product categories ranging from healthcare to accessories to food, 50 percent or more of consumers made online purchases through a device within a week of the study. The top three categories include travel services, household repair and entertainment.

While consumers have a clear understanding of what these devices can do, the more they are connected, the more concerned they become about data privacy. The study shows that over 75 percent express concern about the issue, while 69 percent worry about “order verification and accuracy.” At this point consumers trust financial institutions more than tech giants like Google, Apple or Microsoft. 

Digging deeper into the report it shows that 50 percent of connected consumers purchased something online over a seven day period in 11 of the 19 categories surveyed, including many categories once reserved for physical stores: household furnishings, home supplies, electronics and even groceries and gasoline.

As for the so-called “joy of shopping” or “shopping as entertainment” trends we’ve heard about for years, retailers should still be concerned. About 60 percent don’t find shopping fun or productive, regardless of how they shop and more than 25 percent of consumers say shopping is time consuming and inefficient. 

The full report is available here:

Steve Smith was the longtime editor in chief of TWICE and is a member of the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame.

Steve Smith