With more multitaskers, shopping happens where and when people want

Curious about when consumers shop? Maybe the better question would be: When aren’t consumers shopping?

With an array of devices at their disposal and a penchant for multitasking, shopping activities take place throughout a person’s day, according to a survey in July of more than 4,600 U.S. consumers by PYMTS that looked at how connected devices allowed consumers to multitask. On average, the survey found, consumers spent about one-fourth of each day multitasking.

Given the number of devices available, ranging from smart watches to connected cars, many provide users the opportunity to engage in ecommerce while performing other tasks. For instance, among the 85.4% who used connected devices while at work, 26.8% said they also used those devices to shop.

But shopping through connected devices also creeps into other aspects of daily life, the survey found, such as when people are caring for others (29.8% also shopped), doing household chores (20%), eating (24.8%) and engaging in leisure activities (32.3%).

The survey also delved into how people are using or want to use their connected devices to improve or supplement their shopping experience. While 6.4% said they currently use virtual technology to see how an item will look in a room, about 38% said they’re very or extremely interested in this.

Similarly, nearly 41% are intrigued by the idea of snapping a photo of an item with their smartphone, which then takes them to a product page so they can buy it. And 7.7% said they already use this feature.

Other technologies that resonated among those surveyed included using virtual reality to shop at a physical store while at home or work (4.4% use now, 32.3% are interested); using video technology to interact with a sales associate in a store who will help them select and buy a product (4.1% use, 28.2% are interested); and using a voice assistant to find products, which are then sent to a TV, phone or computer screen for review and purchase (5.6% use, 31.7% are interested).

The do-everything-from-home trend that took hold during the pandemic has also carried over into daily life, with consumers still performing many tasks through devices from home that they used to do in person. The study reported that in 2019 (pre-pandemic) 18% of consumers shopped for non-grocery retail items from home. That number ballooned to 28% in 2020 and has now settled in at 29%.

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