Taj Sohal: people show more brand loyalty shopping by mobile – and they tend to be spend more

With the continued rise of the internet people are changing the way they research, purchase and interact with brands. Convenience and the need to do things on the go have led to mobile apps and internet sites increasing usage. But what is the difference between consumers making purchases online versus those that tend to shop in a physical retail space.

To answer this question – to explore the differences (if any) between those that mainly purchase online as opposed to those that shop mainly offline – we recently commissioned a piece of research to explore how and why brands have been growing in an online age.

In our survey we interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,053 UK adults and explored a number of categories ranging from breakfast cereals to betting. What we found is that some categories in particular stood out as having interesting differences between online and offline consumers, and this we think has implications for how brands grow in a digital age.


One category that showed a marked difference between channels was betting. Here we analysed customer value by the following channels: online, mobile apps and offline. We found that those using online (including mobile apps) had a higher frequency of betting than those who placed most of their bets offline. Additionally, bettors using mobile apps were likely to spend more: mobile app betters claimed to have spent £111 on average, compared to bettors using the ‘classic’ websites, £81 on average.

Looking at other categories we also observed differences in the pizza delivery category. Our research showed that the online take-away pizza buyers were more likely to be regular customers and their average spend was higher than that of offline buyers. Furthermore, online buyers felt more strongly about the pizza delivery brand they ordered from. They had higher levels of brand affection and advocacy than offline buyers.

Naturally there are distinctive demographic differences between online and offline groups, but our initial findings do suggest that channels matter more for certain categories. For brands to grow in a digital age, now is a good time to take stock of channel differences and assess where the potential for future growth is.

But it’s clear that brands need to use the right mix of digital channels to reach customers, and future customers, to drive sales.

unnamedTaj Sohal is insight director of Arena

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