Research into the shopping habits of 10,000 global consumers has found that digital channels such as retail websites and apps are now the primary source of information about new products, with 80 per cent of consumers finding out about new items through them, compared to just 43 per cent who hear about products from family and friends.
The figures comes from Criteo's new report, The Shopper Story 2017, which also found that these trends are set to continue, with 50 per cent of respondents stating that retailer websites and apps are increasing in influence on shopping decisions, compared to 38 per cent for word of mouth.
Focusing on the UK, 83 per cent of UK now identify as omnichannel shoppers, the highest of any market outside the US, with omnichannel consumers in the UK likely to spend 13 per cent more during the average online shop, and 31 per cent more offline, suggesting that retailers have nothing to lose from embracing omnichannel.
Mobile is important, even during the in-store experience, with 57 per cent of consumers using their phone while in-store to research products, while 80 per cent of shoppers with a high purchase intent start their search on retail sites when looking for products, rather than in traditional search engines.
"Our Shopper Story study points to a clear shift in consumer behaviour as websites and apps become increasingly essential recommendation engines," said Paul Dahill, head of brand and agency for Criteo Sponsored Products. "The omnishoppers' path to purchase further reinforces the need for brands and retailers to invest in digital across their operations to ensure that they are capturing consuemrs where decisions are actually made.
"While word of mouth will continue to play an important role, the omnishopper clearly sees apps and websites as the first port of discovery, exceeding even traditional search engines."