Digital ads and search engines influence consumer buying habits, but videos appear to offer the most support for consumers researching to buy a mobile phone. Some 79% of shoppers who saw an online video ad looked up the cell phone advertiser for more information.
The Wireless Shopper Study from Google and Compete analyzes wireless consumer online shopping habits and activities to understand buying and search patterns. It focuses on mobile phones, but experts admit the trends are consistent across a multitude of categories. Videos allow consumers to see how the product works. The findings tap into Compete's 2 million U.S. consumer panel data, analyzing mobile phone purchaser behavior patterns backward to the point of purchase.
The study finds that when consumers have exposure to search ads, based on query terms related to the category and the manufacturer, awareness and consideration for specific brands can triple. About 38% of buyers searched on a wireless term within a week of viewing a cell phone video on YouTube. Some 39% spoke with family and friends about possible cell phone purchases, and 20% shared a video.
Video has a major influence on consumer buying trends, especially for mobile phones. Wireless shoppers were four times more likely to watch videos about cell phones in 2012 versus the prior year. Consumers tend to view videos four weeks prior to purchase.
Video viewers also spend more on phones. In fact, 69% of video shoppers spend $100 or more on their purchase.
Services have become important features when considering a mobile phone. Similar to incentives through coupons and discounts at retailers, better phones, networks and deals trigger more purchases. While upgrades have declined 9% year-on-year, some 35% want the latest technology -- up 37% from March 2012. Consumers are also more willing to switch provider plans. About 19% switched to the plan offering the best deal -- up 46% year-on-year -- and 17% switched for a faster and reliable network, up 62% year-on-year.
About 80% of wireless shoppers research products and services online, taking two or more weeks to research. Some 76% visit more than three brand sites, 57% of research sessions occur within two weeks or more before visitors purchase online, and 6.9% average number of wireless searches done by shoppers prior to the purchase.
Overall, the study reflects online shopping activities across the board. In this case, the average consumer uses four online sources when researching a wireless phone. For instance, one-third of shoppers use mobile devices to research while in retail stores. Of those who research on their mobile device in the store, 47% viewed a product description, 39% checked the price at other locations, 38% looked for discounts, and 27% looked up shipping information for a mobile phone they considered purchasing online.