New findings from Google suggest that consumers are using smartphones, tablets and desktop computers throughout the purchase process. Based on research conducted with Ipsos, Google found that people use smartphones in particular at different points as they move toward a purchase.
Nearly half (46%), for instance, said they researched an item on their smartphone before going to a store buy it. And 37% researched an item on their phone before buying it online. Four in 10 people who use their mobile phones to shop said they had made a purchase through the device itself.
While people use all three devices- -- phone, tablet and PC -- to research purchases, some activities are more popular on specific devices. Tablet owners, for instance, read product reviews and looked for product information more from their tablet devices than from their PCs or smartphones (77% compared to 67% and 70%, respectively).
Consumers favored smartphones for contacting a retailer. That’s a natural outgrowth of the ability to make a call directly, as well as retail sites and ads including click-to-call buttons. At the same time, people preferred PCs for comparing prices and looking for discounts and promotions by a fairly wide margin (roughly 20 percentage points).
That indicates that consumers are mostly checking prices and deals before even leaving the house, rather than waiting to do so in-store via mobile. When it came to comparing product information, however, tablets came out slightly ahead of PCs and smartphones -- at 65% to 60% and 61%, respectively.
The study suggests that people are relying on mobile devices more for shopping. Among consumers who used their devices to shop last year, 80% of smartphone shoppers and 70% of tablet users said they used their device more frequently this year.
The Google/Ipsos results were based on a pair of surveys -- one involving 615 U.S. holiday season shoppers who made a purchase in at least one of 13 retail categories and another of the same size composed of mobile and desktop consumers who made retail purchases across the same range of categories.