With increasing Internet access worldwide, the ability of individuals to acquire information about products and services online is also improving. Internet services such as comparison websites and applications, shopping agents, shopping engines and aggregators often serve for this purpose, but their adoption and use varies significantly by region, country and product category. Online comparison shopping is also linked to other important B2C E-Commerce trends, such as the spread of mobile shopping, the emergence of omnichannel retail and the fast growth of cross-border B2C E-Commerce.
Competitive price comparisons online were carried out by nearly half of the global online shoppers in 2014, with more than one third doing the same on their mobile devices while being in a physical store. Furthermore, nearly a quarter of global cross-border online shoppers landed on an international merchants’ website through an online comparison shopping website.
In Asia-Pacific differences between countries in the spread of online comparison shopping remain, but nearly half of the online shoppers used their mobile devices to conduct price comparisons at the end of 2014. The key motivator for using Internet services for product comparisons both in Japan and China was ease and convenience of not having to go to multiple stores. The M-Commerce trend is linked with online comparison shopping in other regions, such as North America too, where the majority of smartphone and mobile devices users were involved in such activities. In Europe, the use of comparison websites varied significant by country, with the UK taking the lead within the European Union. The omnichannel trend continues to develop in several countries, including France, where Internet users more frequently compare product online than purchasing them.
Worldwide the environment in the field of online comparison shopping among service providers remains competitive, with shoppers sometimes going directly to websites such as Amazon to start their product and price research. Google Shopping is a comparison shopping player active in multiple countries, but sometimes consumers are relying on more local players, such as Russia-based Yandex.Market in Europe, Japan-based Kakaku in Asia, or Naspers-owned Buscape in Latin America. Along with omnichannel, cross-border and M-Commerce, online and store-based retailers worldwide keep the comparison shopping trend and its major players in view.
More information on the online comparison shopping developments globally can be found in our report “Global Online Comparison Shopping Trend 2015”.