WILTON, CT--(Marketwire - Sep 6, 2012) - Branded shopping apps are the strongest driver behind unplanned purchases, branded content on social networks drives people to try new products, and texts and social media are most likely to influence where people shop, according to a new study released today by Ryan Partnership, an integrated marketing agency that is part of the Hyper Marketing, Inc. network.

The 2012 Ryan Partnership Digital Retail Study comes out just 18 months after the company's last retail study. Shoppers' usage of digital retail tools -- ranging from store websites and mobile coupons to daily deal sites and QR codes, has doubled or even tripled, depending on the tool, in the 18-month period.

"Usage of digital tools during the planning phase of shopping is no longer a behavior for particularly cost-conscious shoppers or for digital early adopters," said Kim Finnerty, VP, Consumer and Shopper Insights at Ryan. "Today, such behavior is virtually ubiquitous."

The Ryan study surveyed 8,000 primary household shoppers about their usage of various digital retail tools. Of the 2012 survey respondents 96% said they have used at least one digital shopping tool, with the majority using multiple tools. 

When asked which digital tools they have used while shopping or planning to shop in the last year, the five most heavily used tools were: store websites (64% of respondents), downloadable coupons (61%), search engines (51%), retailer emails (53%) and brand websites (49%). Additional tools mentioned include daily deal sites, brand social media, mobile coupons and shopping apps.

The study found that shoppers use different tools for different purposes -- and that which tools impact which behaviors can be quite surprising. 

  • Social Media from retailers is the a strongest driver of new brand and product trial
    • Brands launching new products should work hand-in-hand with retailers to find ways to feature their new offerings not only in their own social media efforts, but in their retailers' as well.
  • Shopping Apps and retailer tools are strongest drivers of unplanned purchasing
    • For brands that are not on the shopper's list, it is at least as important to be a part of the retailer's digital tools as their traditional tools.
  • Texts Messages from Retailers and Brands are most likely to influence choice of where to shop.
    • Retailers should work with their brand partners to drive shoppers from the product information that engages them to the store to buy to impact their own and each other's objectives. Working together digitally provides the kind of win-win outcome that is at the heart of shopper marketing.

Finally, the study provides insight into the Tools to Watch in 2013. Ryan's Study points to shopping apps and social media updates as the tools best poised for near-term growth, because they deliver the strongest combination of shopper utility (such measures as "makes shopping more fun," and "makes me feel like a smart shopper") and behavioral impact ("I make more unplanned purchases," "I try products or brands I never bought before," "I spend more than I planned")

Tools such as daily deal sites, retailer texts and emails from brands and retailers are delivering strong behavior impact for marketers but need to deliver better on delighting shoppers in order to maximize their potential. And other tools, such as downloadable coupons, need some radical reinvention for the longer-term, despite their current high penetration rates.

"Two years ago, early adopters were the only consumer segment using shopping apps and following retailers' updates on social media. Now, the vast majority of consumers are weaving these digital tools into their path to purchase," says Finnerty. "This formative shift in shopping behavior provides a key learning for brands and retailers -- those that successfully harness the power of these tools across the entire path to purchase stand to win at shelf and beyond."

Download your own copy of the 2012 Ryan Partnership Digital Retail Study here: http://www.ryanpartnership.com/RyanDRS_KF_v10.dnld

For more information on this study and additional insights on how these tools will continue to become an integral part of the shopping experience, please visit http://www.ryanpartnership.com/ or www.hypermarketinginc.com or contact Erin Donahue at erin@digennaro-usa.com or 646-380-4768.

About Ryan Partnership
Ryan Partnership is the second largest integrated marketing agency in the U.S. providing digital, data, direct, promotion, shopper and retail merchandising. The company's creative professionals combine sound strategic research and business acumen to create meaningful ideas that motivate purchase and loyalty to its clients' products, services and among target customers.

Ryan Partnership is part of Hyper Marketing Inc. For more information, visit www.ryanpartnership.com

About Hyper Marketing Inc.
Hyper Marketing is the largest independent marketing-services network in North America. The company has 1,200 employees in 22 offices, with expertise in digital, direct, data, promotions, shopper marketing, Hispanic, and media buying and planning. HMI focuses on driving transactions by responding to changing consumer behavior in a hyper-connected world. HMI companies partner with CMO's of many of the world's best known brands including AT&T, Dell, eBay, Kellogg's, Office Depot, The Home Depot and Unilever to develop integrated programs that deliver profitable results. For more information visit www.hypermarketinginc.com.

Contact Information:

PR Contact
Erin Donahue
DiGennaro Communications
Email: erin@digennaro-usa.com
Phone: 646-380-4768