Smartphones fuel rise of ‘snackable shopping’

Consumer retail behaviour is fragmenting in ways never seen before. We call this ‘Snackable Shopping’. The notion of snacking on content is of course nothing new, but snacking behaviour is becoming more widespread; extending to how people engage in social interaction, with brands, and in how they buy, on and offline.

Many day-to-day activities no longer need to be planned and it is becoming more natural for people to find ways to fit things into the gaps. To wait ‘until they have a moment’ and do several things at once. This means that content and information needs to be delivered in bite-sized chunks – easy to understand and to act upon.

This is happening because shoppers are interacting far more frequently than before with devices, each interaction taking less time and the sum total getting closer to being truly ‘always on’. Smartphone users interact with their phones 150 times per day – that’s every six minutes.  The era of second-screening or multi-screening is upon us, in a survey of connected device owners, nearly half of smartphone owners (46%) and tablet owners (43%) said they use their devices as second screens while watching TV every day (Nielsen). Given that estimates put smartphone penetration at 73%, the context for this new behaviour is clearly established.

The rise of ‘Commuter Commerce’ is a perfect example of this phenomenon. No longer do we gaze out of the train window or aimlessly flick through a free newspaper. Geometry Global research has shown that 90% of us use commuter time to browse, shop and buy via smartphones and tablets. With technology so ubiquitous and assimilated into the lives of the shopper, even the journey to work becomes a moment to make purchases.

What does this mean for the chief marketing officer? The most critical lesson is that the consumer is in control. For brands to successfully ingratiate consumers and integrate into their worlds, they need to identify these commuter opportunities and connect the modern digital shopper in a meaningful way.

Brands and marketers need to rebuild how and where they attempt to engage consumers, and the systems and processes required to support this.  Not only do we now need to develop snackable content, but also entire experiences (ecommerce, brand engagement) which can be ‘consumed’ in bite-sized chunks, anywhere, at any time and on whatever device.

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