Commentary

Mobile Shopping Growing Exponentially

Recent research, conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP, shows that there may be a more effective approach than sales transactions for determining the impact of mobile and how it influences and drives sales in other channels, particularly in-store sales.

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According to the analysis, mobile (smartphones for this analysis) influences 5.1% of all retail store sales in the United States, roughly $159 billion in forecasted sales for 2012. That projection far overshadows the $12 billion forecasted for mCommerce sales in 2012. Based on the research, the next four years are going to be huge for mobile, anticipated to grow exponentially to 17–21% of total retail sales, amounting to $628–$752 billion in mobile-influenced store sales by 2016.

According to the study, half of consumers surveyed currently own a smartphone. and the conversion rate in the store for shoppers who use a retailer’s dedicated app is 21% higher than those who don’t, most likely because such apps can provide a more relevant and tailored shopping experience that helps people make an immediate buying decision.

The mobile influence factor varies by store category, depending on the smartphone adoption rate and frequency of use for that type of store:

Mobile Influence by Store Category (June, 2012)

Category

Smartphone Used to Shop

Frequency of Use

Mobile Influence (Purchases 2012)

ProjectedInfluence (2016; Rounded)

Electronics/ appliances

49%

60.9%

8.3%

29-34%

GM/department/ warehouse

46

52.5

6.7

24-27

Clothing/footware

38

56.2

5.9

21-24

Food/beverage

35

58.2

5.7

19-23

Books & music

33

57.1

5.2

17-21

Home improvement/garden

31

53.5

4.6

15-19

Sporting/toys/hobby

30

56.7

4.7

16-19

Health/PersCare/drug

27

58.4

4.4

15-18

Furniture/home furnishing

24

58.7

3.9

13-16

Source: Deloitte, July 2012

Based on an estimate that 5.1% of all in-store retail sales in the U.S. are currently influenced by mobile, times the forecasted retail store sales of roughly $3 trillion, suggests that mobile is already set to influence more than $159 billion in sales. The report expect mobile’s influence to grow exponentially over the next four years, driven by smartphone penetration, increased adoption by shoppers, decreasing barriers to use, and improved mobile functionality for retail applications. 

According to the study results, smartphone use for store-related shopping increases by 40% after the first six months of device ownership, further accelerating the pace of adoption. Also, while initial use of smartphones for shopping varies widely by store category, once consumers start to use the device in a particular type of store, they tend to consistently use it for more than 50% of their trips within that category, regardless of what the category is. The analysis shows that smartphone shoppers are 14% more likely than non-smartphone shoppers to convert in store.

The current influence of mobile devices on traditional in-store sales already overshadows the value of direct sales on mobile devices, which is forecasted to be $12 billion in 2012, says the report. The report projects the mobile influence factor will reach 17–21% over the next four years, which will translate to or an average of $689 billion in mobile influenced retail sales.

Though mobile is still in its infancy, smartphones already play a greater role in planning and executing store-related shopping trips (used for 33% of all trips) versus laptops/netbooks (31%) and desktop computers (24%).

Smartphones are most likely to be used for store-related shopping when the customer is close to or at the point of making a purchase, rather than as a passive shopping device, says the report. Over 60% of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in a store, and another 50% while on their way to a store. 

Likely to Use Smartphone on Store Related Shopping Trip

Frequency

Likelihood to Use (% of Respondents)

More than a week before trip

10%

More than 2 days before

17

One day of night before

25

On the way to store

52

While shopping in store

61

Source: Deloitte Mobile Influence Survey, March 2012

In addition to revealing additional data on sales conversions with Smartphones, the report concludes by noting that “... the mobile landscape is changing and the pace of innovation is breathtaking... “ and suggesting that retailers can develop appropriate mobile capabilities to support the needs of a smartphone-enabled shopper before, during, and after the shopping experience. Retailers that limit their mobile focus to mCommerce may be overlooking a significant opportunity.

Please visit Deloitte here for additional information, and the complete PDF file.

 

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