Survey: Tech may be less disruptive to retail than thought

Many consumers are not yet digitally savvy.

According to “Consumer Adoption of Disruptive Technologies,” a consumer survey exchange-traded funds provider Global X ETFs, one in five respondents said they would not feel comfortable purchasing almost anything online without having seen the item in person first.

Respondents showed greater comfort buying smaller-ticket items online, with 55%, willing to buy clothes online, and a significant portion willing to purchase shoes (43%), cosmetics (42%), or consumer technologies (42%). For fresh foods and large-ticket items, however, consumers showed more caution. Less than 12% would purchase fine jewelry or fresh groceries online without having seen it in person first, and only 7% of shoppers would buy a car in this manner.

Adoption of other disruptive technologies shows even less penetration. Respondents indicated that less than one in ten operate smart home devices like home security cameras (8%), lighting (7%), climate control (6%), or kitchen appliances (3%) from their smartphone. On the transportation front, less than 5% of consumers use an electric vehicle on at least a weekly basis. Almost one in five (17%) of those surveyed, however, indicated that they expect to purchase an electric vehicle within the next five years.

Millennials are also much more likely to use mobile payments platforms on a regular basis, with 31% indicating weekly usage of mobile wallets, and 27% for peer-to-peer payments. By contrast, only 6% and 1% of baby boomers used these services weekly, respectively.