Online shoppers are expected to spend €52 billion across Europe in the lead up to the festive period, representing 20 percent of the projected total EMEA online shopping spend during 2011 (€254 billion).
New research shows that just over 86 percent of consumers use their mobile device including smartphones or tablets to do their holiday shopping and nearly 70 percent of these respondents are only prepared to wait a maximum of 20 seconds for a web page to load before going to another retailer.
This suggests a strong shift in consumer expectations regarding service quality and changing habits in online shopping – making way for a mobile commerce boom and the need for service providers to step up to the plate and offer services to match, while coping with fluctuating seasonal demands.
Mobile commerce is nothing new, but with the advent of the tablet and continuing sales for smartphones, 2012 will bring a seismic shift in consumer demand to shop anytime, anywhere, with no decline in service quality and download speeds – placing huge pressure on service provider networks to deliver.
The research found that 13 percent of consumers will only wait a maximum of five seconds for a retailer’s web page to load before giving up, showing an increasing consumer trend towards demand for speed and uninterrupted service when shopping online.
With the majority of people spending more time shopping online over the festive period (19 percent spending twice as much time as usual) and the growing trend for shopping ”on the go”, retailers are facing increasing pressure to ensure that their networks stand up to heavily fluctuating seasonal demands.
While consumers are put off by slow connection speeds, our research indicates that growth of online shopping is very much dependent on the ability of retailers to provide quality services. According to Gartner, there were 17 million tablet computers shipped in 2010, a figure set to hit 326 million in 20153. That alone should be sounding alarm bells for retailers.
With over a third of people claiming to already own a tablet computer, and a further 22 percent intending to bring one into the home or give one as a gift at Christmas, the trade-off between providing a consistent service throughout the year and being able to handle the extra capacity and bandwidth required during the biggest shopping months of the year, is a huge challenge for retailers.
Other key findings included:
- Of respondents that will be purchasing a smartphone or tablet computer in time for Christmas, or as a gift for a member of the family or friend, 38 percent will be used for work purposes. A reflection of the increasing trend of using personal devices in the workplace – Bring Your Own Device or BYOD – employers could expect four in every 10 employees to bring a new device onto the corporate network in January 2012;
- Three quarters of people and almost 37 percent already own a smartphone or a tablet respectively;
- Almost 70 percent of people claim that their place of work will close for at least the bank holidays over the Christmas period. With 81 percent of people staying home over the festive time, that means a drastic increase in leisure time, with over half of us streaming TV and movies from the Internet and a shade under 58 percent using bandwidth-hungry communications tools such as Skype to talk to friends and family.
With seasonal peaks and troughs in demand, it is a challenge for providers to ensure that they are satisfying high expectations from consumers, but also not wasting capacity in low periods. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) style networks are set to be key to tackling this issue, as providers only use what they need, when they need it.
Many businesses are leveraging Cloud-based business models, delivering high performance networking foundations to deliver consumer services, but are now beginning to look at new procurement strategies to create on-premise architectures.