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The Relationship between Mobile Technology Development and the Shift of Purchasing Power from Traditional to Online 

Abstract

Many scientists have conducted the researches on the development and future of the mobile commerce. Nevertheless, not many scientists have aimed at studying the influence of mobile commerce on consumers’ purchasing behavior. This paper examines the relationship between the development of mobile commerce and a significant increase of online purchasing. The study was conducted to realize what reasons made people choose mobile commerce instead of traditional one. Moreover, the study analyzed the possible future prospects of the mobile commerce development and success. 30 students of Mississauga University of Toronto aged between 18-23 were gathered to participate in a survey. The findings suggested that mobile (tablet) purchasing method is quickly developing and can soon replace traditional offline shopping while the respondents equally treat traditional and on-line shopping. Mobile commerce tends to be more comfortable, easy, and quick to use. However, those respondents who prefer to try things on still strongly advocate for offline shopping and are not ready to replace traditional shopping with mobile one. This research should be of relevance to those corporations and organizations that concentrate their power, financial support, and efforts on the development of successful mobile shopping applications that will attract purchasers’ attention and make them choose mobile shopping instead of offline (traditional) one.

Objectives:

  • Examine the rapidly developing trend of mobile technology;
  • Analyze customers’ behavior in terms of mobile utilization;
  • Examine consumers’ purchasing habits and behavior in terms of technology growth;
  • Estimate the future of mobile commerce.

Research Questions

  • What factors make mobile commerce so popular nowadays?
  • How does the development of technology and mobile commerce influence customers’ buying behavior?
 
 

Method

Participants

The participants included 30 random students from the University of Toronto, Mississauga. 9 respondents were male, 19 were female, and 2 participants preferred not to disclose. The respondents were aged between 18-23 years. The largest age group of participants (10 students) were 21 years old, while only two students were 18 and 22 years old respectively.

Materials

The study was conducted implementing simple random sampling procedure. There will be selected random students of the University of Toronto (of different age, gender, social status) as a testing frame of the study, from which the samples will be circulated by utilizing non-probability testing technique. The survey included a set of multiple choice questions without the options of additional questions. The participants were selected randomly, so such simple random sampling verified surveying students of different ethnical and social groups, thus allowing to evaluate the answers of the representatives from all groups. Also, simple random sampling ensured objectiveness and provided a significantly broader area of investigation while grasping a diverse group of people instead of specifically selected by certain criteria.

Survey

The survey was aimed at achieving the purpose of the project. In particular, the survey aimed at finding out the mobile commerce future prospects, influence of m-commerce on consumers’ buying behavior, and the analysis of modern technology development. The questions were generated with the aim of attracting and keeping the respondents’ attention. Moreover, the survey was focused on attracting the participants’ attention to the problem occurring in everyday life. The questions were interesting and designed in such a way that the students had an opportunity to analyze their purchasing behavior and shopping style preferences. The questions were not numerous and time-consuming; therefore, none of the potential participants refused to take part in the survey.

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Questionnaire Sample

By agreeing to participate in this study, you have thoroughly read the policy and understand your responsibility and the reliability towards this subject.

Agree/Disagree

1) What is your gender?

a) Male

b) Female

c) Prefer not to disclose

2) What is your age?

a) 18 years

b) 19 years

c) 20 years

d) 21 years

e) 22 years

f) 23+ years

3) Do you have a shopping budget for yourself?

a) Yes

b) No

4) What is your average weekly spending on online applications?

a) 100-300$

b) 300-500$

c) 500-700$

d) 700+$

e) None

5) What is your average weekly spending on offline shopping?

a) 100-300$

b) 300-500$

c) 500-700$

d) 700+$

e) None

6) What is your favorite shopping style?

a) Going to the mall

b) Surfing online

c) Using mobile applications

d) Other

7) How many hours per week do you go through your shopping applications on your mobile devices?

a) 0 hours

b) 1-10 hours

c) 11-20 hours

d) 21+ hours

8) How many hours per week do you spend on going to the mall?

a) 0 hours

b) 1-10 hours

c) 11-20 hours

d) 21+ hours

9) How often do visit mobile commerce applications per day?

a) 1-2 times a day

b) 3-4 times a day

c) 5-6 times a day

d) 6+ times a day

e) Do not visit

10) Which one of the mobile commerce application do you use for apparel shopping?

a) Nordstrom

b) Sak’s fifth avenue

c) Brand applications (ZARA, H&M…)

d) Other

11) Which one of the media outlets do you see in regard to clothing advertisements most frequently?

a) Mobile applications

b) Shopping mall

c) Both of the above equally

d) None of the above

Procedure

To explore the effects of mobile commerce development on consumers’ purchasing behavior, an opinion poll method was obtained. The participants were gathered with the help of informal methods. All of them were reached through the method of personal encounters. At the beginning of the survey, the respondents were asked to agree to the policy of the survey. By agreeing to participate in the study, the respondents admitted they read the policy and realized their responsibility and reliability towards the subject. The survey was conducted in the campus of the University of Toronto, Mississauga. The participants were offered to find a comfortable place for them to answer the questions without hustle. They were offered refreshment if needed. Nevertheless, the questionnaire was simple and short and no one of the participants asked for refreshment. The process of filling the questionnaire form lasted no more than 15 minutes. After the respondents submitted their samples, they were interviewed for no more than 5 minutes. Their answers concerning the main problem were recorded with the help of smartphones.

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The designed and self-structured questionnaire comprised of two nominal parts. The first part was devoted to the personal data of the survey participants including their age and gender. The second part dealt with the inquiries relevant to variables, specifically online spending, shopping budget, offline costs, advertisements, and favorite shopping styles. Both sections included only multiple choice questions.

Data Analysis

After receiving all of the questionnaire samples, the project team started analyzing the data. In the process of analysis, it was found out that 19 females, 9 males, and 2 respondents who preferred not to disclose their gender participated the survey. 10 participants were 21 years old, 9 – 20 years old, 5 – 23+ years old, 4 – 19 years old, and 2 – 18 and 22 years old respectively. The majority of respondents (16 students in particular) admitted they did not have their personal shopping budget. 18 participants stated they spent 100-300$ a week on online applications while 6 participants spent 300-600$. The residual 6 participants claimed they did not spend any money on online applications at all. When it came to offline average spendings per week, 23 out of 30 admitted they spent 100-300$ on it while the residual 7 participants spent 300-500$ per week. Answering the question concerning favorite shopping style, 15 participants admitted they still preferred going to the shopping mall, 10 students preferred shopping online, 4 respondents used mobile shopping applications, and only one student preferred another (not mentioned in the sample) shopping style. 19 participants spent 1-10 hours per week using shopping applications on their mobile devices, 5 participants admitted they did not spend even an hour utilizing shopping applications, 4 spent 11-20 hours, and only 2 participants spent more than 21 hour checking shopping applications in their mobile phones. The majority of students (23 individuals) spent 1-10 hours on traditional shopping, 4 participants did not practice it at all, 2 and 1 student spent 11-20 and more than 21 hours on “mall” shopping respectively. Moreover, according to the results of the survey, the students mostly encounter advertisement and come under its influence in the shopping malls. It was proved that the numerous advantages of mobile internet technology “enable new shopping services that can fulfill previously unmet needs in the retail industry” (Wang, Malthouse, & Krishnamurthi, 2015). As a result, it was found out that the main factors promoting mobile commerce nowadays include the absence of advertisements make people buy unnecessary things. The factors mentioned also encompass convenience, the economy of time, and the economy of money. Accordingly, many people realize nowadays the advantages of mobile commerce and prefer online shopping to a real one.

Results

Advertisement

Answering the question concerning the frequency of advertisements in shopping malls or mobile applications, most participants (13 students) agreed that shopping mall was the place they observed apparel advertisements most frequently. 5 students agreed that mobile applications were more subjected to clothing advertisements, while 8 participants considered both of the sources as full of advertisements. Nevertheless, judging from the results of the survey, it is obvious that significantly fewer respondents observe clothing advertisements in mobile applications. Therefore, they do not get distracted by the bright picture of ideal life propagandized by suchadvertisements.

Convenience

The development of technology, mobile industry in particular, significantly influences the lives and everyday choices common for every person. Moreover, Lee, Park, and Jun (2014) mention that “the use of smartphones for mobile shopping has become increasingly popular and has caused revolutionary changes in consumer behaviors.” The convenience offered by mobile shopping begins to replace the traditional shopping with the former. As phones become more convenient and smart, they begin to play more important roles in people’s lives (Sharma & Chopra, 2014). People use their smartphones to deal with daily routines and office activities. As a result, the development of technology requires a new way of life. Richa Sharma and Shalu Chopra (2014) believe that as mobile phones become more accessible, available, and convenient, more people will use m-commerce. Online shopping brings people a lot of conveniences that directly influence their purchasing behavior and shopping style preferences (for instance, aliexpress.com offers an extra discount for those users who order goods using their smartphones/tablets) (Lee, Park, & Jun, 2014). Finally, scientists consider that “mobile commerce has already become one of the trends in the future developments”, and those who do not want to stay behind have to follow the trend (Chen & Lan, 2014).

Economy of Time

With more shopping portals available on smartphones, buyers can simply log in into any corresponding portal according to their needs and find all the options available at a single click (Sharma, Chopra, 2014). As a result, they save the time they will have to spend on examining the stores for the product they need. Additionally, digital products are delivered wirelessly to consumers’ mobile devices (Lee, Park, & Jun, 2014). However, the economy of time has also a negative consequence on consumers as it enhances the risks of impulsive buying, which influences the consumers’ postemotional purchase satisfaction “through mixed emotion response” (Li, 2015).

Economy of Money

Among the most significant factors that influence consumers’ purchasing behavior and shopping style is the economy of money. The most effective mobile applications collect data or service data from different retailers. Moreover, they sort the data in a way that allows the customers to “perform side-by-side comparisons” of different trade prices and find the best and most advantageous deals (Lee, Park, & Jun, 2014). Moreover, prices in online stores are lower than prices in real stores due to several reasons (paying salaries to considerably smaller number of workers, paying no rent, etc).

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Conclusion

Summary

The purposes of the study were to examine the rapidly developing trend of mobile technology, analyze customers’ behavior in terms of mobile utilization, examine consumers’ purchasing habits and behavior in terms of technology growth, and estimate the future of mobile commerce. The study also aimed at finding out the factors that make mobile commerce so popular nowadays and make people choose online shopping instead of traditional one. After the data collection and analysis were performed, the findings have proven that mobile commerce has achieved the same popularity as traditional shopping. Moreover, m-commerce has now a tendency to a further development that may soon displace offline shopping from its leading position. Among the most significant factors that influenced the students’ shopping style preferences, the respondents mentioned the economy of time and money, the convenience, and smaller amount of advertising.

Limitations

There are few limitations involved in this study, which may lead to inaccurate data representation. The sampling method is not always able to represent the real picture of the situation. Many students can regard the survey as a needless issue and a waste of time. Thus, they can provide not reliable and true answers to the questions. Moreover, a considerable part of participants may answer the questions randomly, choosing the option without even reading its meaning. It could have been avoided by either providing a control question (a simple question every person knows the exact answer to),which would detect whether a person filled the form randomly, or by conducting a small interview after the participants filled their forms.

Recommendations

It is recommended that in the further development of this study, the participants were selected into focus groups by the following criteria: age, gender, social status, marital status, and the level of education. Therefore, it will allow to analyze the preferences of each group and will show the gaps that need to be decreased. Such analysis will be substantially more thorough, detailed, and time-consuming. Nevertheless, it will allow to concentrate on the opinions of representatives of every specific group separately, thus finding possible solutions applicable to every specific group. As a result, companies will get more specific analysis of requirements, needs, and expectations of every target audience group. Moreover, they will have an opportunity to improve the weak areas and build a generally successful and profitable mobile commerce campaign. For instance, if a company knows that smartphone owners between the ages of 17 and 28 are more likely to access the internet using their smartphones or tablets, they can concentrate on meeting the needs and demands of this group. The fact that the majority of customers aged between 17 and 33 are most likely to participate in online shopping activity gives the company a perfect reason to take into account such users by ensuring the company’s websites are mobile-friendly.

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