IBM study: Consumers willing to share personal info – for a price

New York -- A new IBM study of more than 30,000 global consumers found that consumers are willing to share their personal information with retailers, particularly if they get good value in exchange.

According to the findings, the percentage of consumers willing to share their current location via GPS with retailers nearly doubled year-over-year to 36%. Thirty-eight percent of consumers would provide their mobile number for the purpose of receiving text messages and 32% would share their social handles with retailers.

"Today's consumer has been conditioned by multiple industries — from healthcare to travel — to expect personalized interactions across different channels," said Jill Puleri, IBM Retail Global Industry Leader. "IBM's study shows consumers are willing to share details about themselves, particularly if they receive a personalized experience in return.”

Consumers have high online expectations across the board. IBM's study found that the five most important omnichannel capabilities to consumers are, in order:

• Price consistency across shopping channels;
• Ability to ship items that are out of stock in the store directly to their home;
• Option o track the status of an order;
• Consistent product assortment across channels; and
• Ability to return online purchases in the store.

The IBM study found that consumers fall into four distinct groups differentiated by their interest in and use of social, location and mobile technologies while shopping. Nineteen percent of consumers surveyed lag behind the majority of the population when it came to using technology to shop. Another 40% of shoppers use social, location and mobile technologies for information gathering, but are not likely to use them to purchase products. Twenty-nine percent use social, location and mobile much more extensively, for everything from researching products to ordering goods. Twelve percent of consumers surveyed are classified as "Trailblazers," those who use these technologies across channels and base their choice of retailer on whether they make that possible.

The survey found that consumers are increasingly shopping online. In 2013, 84% of shoppers surveyed by IBM chose the store to make their last non-grocery purchase. This year, that figure dropped to 72%. Surprisingly, showrooming is not behind this online growth. While more respondents showroomed this year (8% versus 6% last year), only about 30% of all online purchases actually resulted from showrooming — a drop from nearly 50% last year. Seventy percent of online purchases were made by shoppers that went directly to the web.