Local companies get mobile shopping tips

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Local companies get mobile shopping tips


Mobile shopping has become the new retail trend in North America, thanks to electronic giants competing to release new products.

A Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) report released yesterday stated that the U.S. online retail market in 2012 surged 16 percent from the previous year to $225.5 billion. The Canadian market also expanded 7.9 percent to $8.9 billion.

Meanwhile, the mobile retail market in the United States and Canada grew 82 percent to $24.8 billion during the same period.

Currently, mobile shopping accounts for 11 percent of all online retail, but Kotra said that could expand to 25 percent by 2017.

The agency identified tablet PCs as the main growth engine for mobile retail. While smartphone shopping climbed 31.6 percent year-on-year to generate $9.9 billion, tablets soared 154.2 percent to record sales of $13.9 billion.

The report predicted tablets will account for up to 70 percent of online commerce in 2016.

It explained that North American consumers prefer mobile shopping due to exclusive online discounts and because it is less time-consuming.

Consumer in the past used to utilize mobile devices only to research and compare products, according to the report. The applications are easy to use and offer simplified payment processes.

North American consumers who go to brick and mortar stores to try products out then make purchases online at a lower price are called “showroomers.” A survey by U.S. market analytics firm Comscore found 35 percent of respondents said they had showroomed.

The Kotra report noted that widespread use of mobile devices and social network services has contributed to development of the trend.

According to the report, showroomers consist of technology-friendly consumers aged 18 to 34. Brand-sensitive products sell best, including clothes, fashion accessories, computers and home appliances.

Such consumer trends influence marketing strategies of Korean companies exporting products overseas. Small home appliances like vacuum cleaners, humidifiers and air purifiers?sell best in the U.S. online market, said the report.

Kotra advised companies to enter the mobile retail market with popular models at lower prices.

“Korean companies have to keep targeting local retailers that run both online and conventional stores in a bid to serve the emerging showroomers,” said Kotra researcher Kim Sun-hwa. “They should prepare for a solid foothold area while promoting themselves on social network services and at industry exhibitions. It is also significant for them to become certified under local regulations, and to pay special attention to correctly writing product brochures in local languages.”

BY Kim Ji-yoon [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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