Mobile phone industry is failing to sell to serious shoppers

More than a third of serious mobile phone shoppers fail to buy when looking to purchase due to a lack of suitable deals, staff deficiencies both in store and on telephone sales lines, and poor website layout and navigability.

This is one of the key findings from the benchmark wave of YouGov’s Mobile Buying Experience tracking service, in which 9650 consumers were interviewed about their mobile browsing and buying experience.

A particular turn off for serious intenders in store is that they are not given the opportunity to handle the phone and try out the different functions. Nearly everyone (91%) who was interested in a new handset said it would have been useful to have been able to ‘play’ with a working handset before purchase; less than half of them (44%) were actually able to do so.

Mobile phones are the tech device which consumers buy and replace more often than any other device. In consumer terms phones are more disposable than many products sold at similar the prices. Compare for example the longevity of a typical mobile phone to a camera, a fixed line phone or other electrical items. Most importantly frequent purchase means frequent churn opportunities and suppliers need to be at the top of their game to prevent churn and gain from other suppliers when they have the opportunity.

The internet has revolutionised how consumers research and buy products and services. In the UK mobile phone market, the majority of purchases are now made online.

Every day there are significant numbers of lost sales opportunities via each channel. Only 54% of consumers who shopped for a mobile phone, accessory or service in the last six months actually bought something. Even among those who described themselves as serious purchase intenders, only two thirds bought something. To improve these numbers retailers need to reduce poor experiences.

Commenting on the results, Caroline Gaskin, director of technology and telecoms consulting at YouGov, said: “The mobile phone industry is missing out on significant sales volume, even amongst consumers who are ready and willing to be sold to. There’s a genuine opportunity to gain market share for the retailer which responds to consumer criticism and polishes its performance.

“Our research enables us to identify which brands are performing well and what it is that enables them to beat the competition, both via direct questioning – why are you highly likely to recommend brand X website? – and from key driver analysis, determining which specific attributes have the highest correlation with strong recommendation,” added Gaskin. “This information is very valuable to our clients, as they can use it to prioritise areas for improvement and identify which marketing messages are likely to be the most effective in communicating with consumers.”