Trends in Mobile Shopping Habits

When is the last time you made an actual phone call on your cell phone? If you are like the majority of smartphone owners, you are likely using your phone less for talking and more for texting, tweeting, and shopping.

Smartphones are now shoppers’ “go to” resource for finding the best-priced products. It is not uncommon for Suzy Shopper to be eyeing a price tag in a retail store, while at the same time, comparing the amount to an online shop.

Mobile phones are becoming our #1 resource for shopping. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 24% of smartphone owners used their phone to look up product reviews while in a store. And 38% of phone owners used their phone to call a friend for shopping advice before marking a purchase.

JWT Worldwide recently conducted a study of 18+ year-old shoppers and how they used their mobile devices while shopping. The findings were surprising. Lets take a look at smartphone usage among this age group and how it’s affecting purchasing.

1.  Mobile shopping doesn’t equal mobile purchasing. Mobile shoppers are not necessarily using their phones to make purchases. Rather they are being used to compare prices and find the best bargains.

2.  Mobile devices are more frequently used than computers, even if the computers are readily available. If given the choice, most people will use their smartphone to brose and shop. JWT speculates this may be due to the fact that people – while at work – do not want to browse the internet for deals on a computer that’s tied to the workplace.

3.  Men are more likely to use their smartphone as their “go to” tool while shopping. Male shoppers use the phones more than women for price comparison and gathering information in order to make an informed purchase decision.

4.  Shoppers want touchscreen mobile devices. It’s true – people are migrating toward to the touchscreen interfaces found on tablets and smartphones. Touchscreens have been shown to have an easier user interface, thus creating a better web-browsing shopping experience.

5.  Mobile phones may be used more for information than buying. Most shoppers agreed they would likely buy the item they need, with or without a mobile device. So where smartphones are used frequently for research and price comparison, if Johnny Buyer wants an item, he’s likely to buy if off the shelf of the store.

While it is true that mobile phones are playing an important role in the shopping experience, research shows they are not replacing the traditional modes of buying. Instead, they are supplementing the process of price comparison and research. This is good news for retailers. Online-only companies may still have a ways to go.

Image Source: Ed Yourdon

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