New research from AI-powered visual commerce firm ViSenze analyzes how consumers are influenced to purchase products after they’ve been inspired both online and in person. The company’s third annual report studying consumer shopping preferences found that 54 percent of respondents in the U.S. and 43 percent in the UK are most excited about visual search being part of their shopping journey.
This year’s results support earlier research done by ViSenze in 2018 (cited by eMarketer), which showed that close to 62 percent of Millennials in each market were comfortable using visual search. The results from this year’s report show a progression in visual search sentiment, which will likely continue to rise as consumers demand faster, seamless, and more engaging paths to purchase.
The survey also shows that 73 percent of U.S. and 81 percent of UK consumers’ product purchases are inspired by a visual trigger, reiterating the importance for visual search to be accessible more natively on smartphone devices to complement the way consumers are discovering, accessing, and purchasing products.
Product discovery goes beyond a brand’s website
When looking at shopping preferences on digital channels, the report found that nearly 40 percent of consumers in both regions predominantly discover products on third-party ecommerce websites, and that almost 60 percent are likely to complete a purchase on a mobile device. The report also found:
- Three out of four consumers often or always want to purchase items they’ve seen in images and videos online.
- Facebook is the social channel that is most likely to inspire a purchase, followed by Instagram, Pinterest, and then Snapchat.
- 75 percent of UK respondents and 65 percent of U.S. respondents make at least one purchase a month after discovering a product on social media.
Consumers are inspired anytime, anywhere
The report also found that when inspired in person, 64 percent of U.S. consumers (56 percent of UK) use their smartphones to type in descriptive search terms to find the product they are looking to purchase. However, consumers indicated they often face challenges when searching for products, including: describing the product accurately (18 percent of U.S.; 37 percent of UK), getting accurate search results (43 percent of U.S.; 45 percent of UK), and filtering through too many search results (39 percent of U.S.; 18 percent of UK). The report also found:
- Nearly 30 percent of the UK respondents would purchase a product immediately if it was easily searchable on their smartphones via visual search.
- Nearly 80 percent of consumers from both regions are using their smartphones for in-store shopping experiences.
- Among the UK respondents using their smartphone devices in-store, 30 percent are taking a picture of the product to search for price comparisons, consumer reviews, or additional product information.
“Consumers today are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of shopping apps daily. These apps alone can be overwhelming to consumers, and as a result make them long for smarter, native search engines that are both efficient and accurate in searching for products across different shopping platforms. As mobile usage continues to grow, shoppers now increasingly rely on accessible AI functionalities on their smartphones such as visual search or smart shopping lenses that help them find what they’re looking for on-the-go,” said Cheryl Guzman Ng, global head of marketing at ViSenze, in a news release.
“As omnichannel experiences have become the ‘new retail,’ vision has become the new search for consumers. This survey underscores the growing acceptance of visual search as a part of the customer journey, whether it be for search, discovery, recommendations, or purchasing,” she added.
ViSenze surveyed over 1,500 people in the US and the UK.