Increasing importance of the Internet and new technology in the purchasing process

In Romania, Internet penetration has steadily increased in recent years, reaching 53% nationally and 63% in urban amongst people aged over 15 years in April 2013

At the same time, Romanians' appetite for tablets and smartphones is growing. Sales have seen a significant upward trend in recent years, smartphones reaching 25% of total mobile phone market in units in 2012 and the number of tablets sold increased nearly 5 times in 2012 compared to 2011.


These developments are beginning to make their mark not only on the lifestyle of consumers, but also on their buying behavior. If until recently the shops and traditional communication media were the main sources of information for the purchase decision, the Internet is now widely used.


A study conducted by GfK Romania on a representative sample of the urban population of Internet users, aged between 15 and 45 years, reveals the important role of the Internet in redefining purchasing behavior. 70% of respondents said the Internet has become a very useful purchase tool, and 44% stated that social networks have become as important as other sources of information to make the best choices of products.


"Accessing websites of prices comparison, consulting the online detailed product descriptions and the reviews of other buyers, the exchange of information in social networks, all these activities are developed more and more in order to make the best buying decision. Such access to multiple sources of information to makes us all more engaged and more demanding customers’, more difficult to be pleased than before", said Raluca Raschip, Consumer Goods & Retail Director GfK Romania.


Beside the online environment, some other means of interaction gradually develop, such as through smartphones. If, at the moment, the smartphone is used primarily to compare prices (44% of smartphones owners who have informed online or bought online in the past 6 months) to search for information and reviews (42%) and locate stores (42%), other types of behaviors begin to appear: verifying the availability of a product (31%) or scan the QR codes (22%).


In this environment where the shopper is more aware regarding the tools he has at hand and more involved in the purchasing process, using more and more techniques to maximize the value he gets, it becomes increasingly difficult for manufacturers and retailers to maintain a high level of loyalty.


Therefore, knowing how shoppers search for information and use new technologies and the diversity of stimuli with which they come into contact in the purchasing process, becomes increasingly important to the success on the market, not only to meet the current shoppers’ needs, but also to anticipate future needs in an increasingly digitized landscape.


GfK FutureBuy integrates all this data and provides more details about the influence of technology on purchase behavior, about online versus offline shopping experience or about the new type of informed and involved shopper.

The survey was conducted online, on a sample of 600 respondents from online panel AskGfK. GfK FutureBuy survey is representative for urban Internet users, aged between 15 and 45 years.