MasterIndex as a valuable insight into consumer behavior, and thus an opportunity for those who look ahead in our tourism, especially in the context of digitalization of tourism

The latest edition of the MasterIndex survey shows that Croats still rely mostly on payment cards when it comes to managing personal finances, and this is one of the consequences that ...

The latest edition of the survey MasterIndex shows that Croats continue to rely heavily on payment cards when it comes to managing personal finances, one of the consequences of accelerated digitalisation and the need for cashless and contactless payments due to the pandemic.

Namely, almost all respondents use at least one card, and among the most common activities is online shopping, according to a new survey conducted for Mastercard in September by the Improve agency. Various products are bought online, from clothes to household supplies, but also ready-made food. Increasingly, bills are being paid online and mobile banking is being used. With the fact that an average of over seven hours a day is spent on a smartphone and computer, it is quite clear that Croatia is increasingly becoming a digital nation.

What does this have to do with tourism? Big!

Compared to the year before, but also in the spring of this year, the frequency of using cards for online shopping is increasing. Namely, 89% of respondents use the card for online shopping, and the latest data show that now more people buy online at least once a month. More often than the average, online shopping cards are used by people with higher incomes, so among people with incomes higher than HRK 12.000, as many as 99% do so at least occasionally, and 37% every week. Who almost never uses online shopping cards? These are mostly respondents older than 50 and those who have no income. 

When it comes to online shopping habits, the most popular products for most respondents are clothing, electronics and household products, such as furniture, tools and the like. The largest increase in online shopping compared to last year's data was recorded in the segment of clothing, cosmetics and food - and not only food products, but also ready meals. On the other hand, the negative effects of the pandemic had the greatest impact on the online purchase of services in the field of culture. 

Almost half of the survey participants shop equally in foreign and domestic online stores. The main reasons for online shopping are time savings (68%), availability of stores 24/7 (65%) and a better offer of products and services (61%). As a reason for online shopping, they cite even more reasonable prices, promotions and discounts, the fact that some items can be purchased exclusively online, as well as the possibility of delivery to your home address or to work. 

Debit and credit cards are most often used for online shopping, and regional peculiarities are interesting: Istrians stand out from the average when it comes to paying with credit cards, Zagreb residents avoid paying by cash on delivery, while respondents from Lika and Northern Croatia more often decide on installments. At the same time, card data in online stores is most often stored by respondents with higher incomes.

More and more respondents are opting to pay their bills online

Respondents prefer to pay their bills online (87%), primarily via mobile banking (54%) or online banking (36%). Only 13% of the surveyed bills are paid directly in the branches, more often those from Dalmatia and Lika.  

As a device that we do not drop from our hands, a mobile phone is also used for payment. Thus, 26% of respondents buy via mobile phone with card payment, and 31% with payment via mobile phone account. 65% of respondents pay by SMS, and 12% of them use a mobile wallet. 

People in Croatia are satisfied with the level of digitalization

Almost all survey participants, 95% of them, use smartphones and use them for an average of 4,6 hours a day. 81% of respondents use a laptop for an average of 2,5 hours a day, while a smart TV is used by 61% and a personal computer by 53% of respondents. The number of users of smart watches, smart TVs and wireless speakers / headphones is growing. 

The digital services used by the most respondents are online chat applications (eg Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger), which are used by 86% of respondents. This is followed by online shopping, the use of e-mail, social networks and Internet search. It is important to note that all of these activities (except online shopping) are practiced on a daily basis. In addition to the payment card, 70% of respondents would use a mobile phone for payments. When it comes to authentication methods, most people prefer to use a PIN, followed by a fingerprint scan.

According to the perception of the participants in the research, satisfaction with digitalization has not changed significantly and is at the same level as last year and as three priority segments in which they would like to see more innovation and digital services are health (71%), education (50%) and public management (49%).

"With the sharp increase in consumer demand for non-cash methods, the transition to digital payment has accelerated and the growth trend of e-commerce has started. Thus the pandemic served as a catalyst for modernization in the financial and payment industries", Said Cosmin Vladimirescu, director of Mastercard in Croatia and Romania.

Yes, what does that have to do with tourism? The MasterIndex survey is a valuable insight into consumer behavior, and thus an opportunity for those looking ahead in our tourism, especially in the context of tourism digitization.

Digitization of tourism as an imperative! Croatia not only has to follow all the trends, but it also has to create them. And tourism has always been and will be the first to be "hit" by new trends. And today’s trend is card payments and mobile payments. This is not just about restaurants. We must enable the same option through the entire vertical and horizontal in tourism. From paying for coffee in cafes, deck chair rental to tours, excursions, attractions… in just a few clicks tourists must get direct access to unique local experiences in Croatia.

When we talk about the digitalization of travel agencies and destinations, that is imperative today. Not only to have an offer on the web, but the possibility that the guest can immediately book and buy the service online.

So much effort and money is spent to get customers to one of the destination's websites - Visit X, and then at the most important step I don't know how to present the whole offer well. And most importantly, even if we get the final step, which is consent / purchase, ie the motive for coming (AIDA model), we do not have the option for the user to buy the product / tour.

Direct booking and payment, as well as the context of the destination, is today's standard that all tourist destinations should monitor and implement. 

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