Earlier this week I read Deloitte’s report “TV+”, published to coincide with Edinburgh Television Festival. One section that I found particularly interesting was buried at the back of the report and is all about TV’s relationship with shopping. No doubt as IBC kicks off in Amsterdam broadcasters and producers will be looking at all kinds of tech solutions to bring TV viewing and online shopping closer together.
We’ve known for a long time that TV has driven shopping – from Jamie Oliver selling cookery books to Teletubbies toys. In fact the Deloitte study shows that even amongst the 18-24 age group (who spend considerable amounts of time engaging with media other than TV) in the last year one in five found out about a new product and then bought it after seeing it on TV. 1 in 5 you say? Well the only influencing factors higher were recommendations from friends or coming across the product in a store – social networks didn’t come close.
TV raises awareness of products more than any other media – and yet it’s hard to follow the path from seeing a product on TV and actually parting with hard earned cash. On the web it’s so much simpler to track as, if people don’t buy it in situ, you can prove their path to the purchase. Of course convergence offers big opportunities for TV – to take people all the way from ‘awareness’ to ‘transaction’. Deloitte point to three trends that mean TV is in a great place to becomme a bigger force in shopping:
1. Connected devices in the living room – from smartphones (set to rise to 60% penetration over the next four years) to tablets (which are due to be sold at the same rate as HD TVs in the UK) – increasingly viewers will have the equivalent of a digital till sitting in their laps.
2. Multi-screening – almost half of the Delloite survey sample are browsing the web while they watch TV either ‘frequently’ or ‘almost always’. Only one year ago 38% of people never two-screened, now it’s less than 25% (and amongst 18-24 year olds it’s only 3% who don’t do it!). This behaviour means TV is increasingly having the power to influence and drive web based purchasing in real time.
3. E-commerce – Britain is the world’s leading online shopping nation – we spend more time buying things online than in any other nation. E-commerce already represents a sizeable 10% of all retail sales in the UK and that is growing 50% every year. Even now, amongst those browsing the web while they watch TV, shopping is the second most popular activity (45% of this group and 50% of women).
So we know TV plays a significant part in influencing purchasing decisions. Now convergence means we can track consumers to the till, but more than that, we can encourage and fulfil the impulse purchase. Every broadcaster is thinking about incremental revenue opportunities, and this certainly presents an opportunity, but the report does recommend caution – that broadcasters being overt about trying to sell products could not only cause a brand backlash, but even more serious it could precipitate a wholesale shift from premium display advertising to commission-based advertising. Convergence of TV and e-commerce is an exciting prospect for broadcasters and content producers, but just as fraught with risk as it is with opportunity.