Digitally driven consumers seek more digital content, but have greater expectations of the technologies


NEW YORK, Oct. 7—The smartphone is rapidly evolving beyond a simple communications device into an extension of consumers’ daily activities and creating a new breed of digital shopper. This is based on the results of new research from GfK Business & Technology which will be presented today at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications show in San Francisco.  GfK’s research into the new consumer mindset shows that expectations for the next generation of mobile applications will continue to drive users’ purchases and dramatically influence how retailers respond to the needs of their customers.  

These new consumers are known as the “Digital Drivers,” those who have digital content and tools woven into the fabric of their lives. The Digital Drivers are not only consuming, creating and sharing digital content,  but also using new technologies to streamline and simplify their daily activities.  

“For the Digital Drivers, it’s not just about what the technology can do, but what it can do for them,” said David Krajicek,  managing director of GfK Business & Technology. “Companies need to understand that their consumers increasingly expect a personal and customizable experience through both online and mobile platforms.”

Amidst a landscape where overall handset sales are declining, sales of smartphones have steadily increased as more consumers gravitate towards mobile applications. The survey of 1,000 adults found that the value of the smartphone and selection of mobile applications were greater priorities to consumers than reliable coverage and customer service.

“Our research shows that we are at a mobile application tipping point, where the applications are driving customer purchases of the technology more so than the smartphones themselves,” said Krajicek. “Smartphone users are increasingly willing to pay for applications, but those applications need to seamlessly integrate with their lives and streamline the tasks they’re currently using other technologies to accomplish.”

The new consumer mindset will influence both the in-store and mobile shopping experience and require brands to tailor their applications by understanding how customers will use the technology to shop. GfK’s research has found that, for smartphone users, finding the best value for their purchases along with greater convenience for completing transactions will shape how, where and when they shop.

“The entire shopping landscape and experience has undergone a sea of change for retailers and their customers,” said Krajicek.  “Brands have unprecedented access to their customers’ behaviors, and they need to go beyond just meeting their customers’ expectations to drive a deeper level of interaction and loyalty.”

About GfK Business & Technology

A division of GfK Custom Research North America, GfK Business &  Technology is one of the world’s largest providers of business-to-business and consumer research to the global technology and telecommunications industries. Unique in its ability to profile, segment and evaluate technology customers, it provides a deep understanding of target groups, including their needs, brand awareness and perceptions,  buying behaviors and product usage. As a result, it has been a major force in guiding some of the most renowned technology leaders in identifying, growing and retaining their customer bases.

About GfK Custom Research North America

Headquartered in New York,  GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group. The GfK Group offers the fundamental knowledge that industry, retailers,  services companies and the media need to make market decisions. It delivers a comprehensive range of information and consultancy services in three business sectors— Custom Research, Retail and Technology and Media. The no. 4 market research organization worldwide operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 10,000 staff. In 2009, the GfK Group’s sales amounted to EUR 1.16 billion. For more information visit Follow us at or on Twitter @gfkamerica.

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