They Research on Smartphones, Buy on Tablets

Mobile shopping behavior continues to evolve with consumers using smartphones and tablets for both researching and purchasing products.

I came across an interesting new study around this that shows how the actions of research and purchasing differ by device.

While the smartphone is the device for research, the tablet is more the device for purchasing, according to the study by a Lenovo team led by Mo Chaara, Director, Site Optimization, in the Global Web Marketing Team at Lenovo.

Lenovo surveyed consumers who had researched or purchased on their mobile phone or tablet within the past year.

The study found that research is the primary function of both devices during the purchase process.

By device, 65 percent researched only on a smartphone while a third (32%) researched and purchased. For tablets, almost half (47%) researched and the same percent both researched and purchased via tablet.

But looking at the findings by the function of research, about half (49%) used a smartphone while only 20 percent did so on a tablet.



What strikes me in the study is the amount of product research being conducted on mobile devices, which should be no surprise given that consumers continually use their phones before, during and after a retail store visit.

Another interesting tidbit in the study is that consumers don’t have a great preference between apps and mobile optimized experiences.

When asked their preference to download an app or use a mobile website to research and purchase products, 11 percent prefer to download an app, 33 percent would use a mobile-optimized website and more than half (56%) say it doesn’t matter as long as they are satisfied with the information they are given.

No matter how it is delivered to the mobile consumer, it looks like it still comes down to the value delivered, not necessarily the method of delivery.

8 comments about "They Research on Smartphones, Buy on Tablets".
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  1. Mark Mclaughlin from McLaughlin Strategy, February 25, 2013 at 5:45 p.m.

    It would be more useful to break this down in terms of brick and mortar purchase and online purchase.

    Probably a lot of mobile phone research is in-store or just before going into a store.

    When shopping to make an online purchase, intuitively a larger screen than you have on a phone would be pragmatic.

    The insights in the is article might be more helpful with this kind of a break down.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 25, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.

    Thanks Mark, but unfortunately the study did not separate the two into in-store vs. online.

  3. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, February 26, 2013 at 6:36 a.m.

    Re: "11 percent prefer to download an app, 33 percent would use a mobile-optimized website and more than half (56%) say it doesn’t matter as long". Can't be right - these figured add to 100%, but most of the people that I know with an iPad prefer a full website to the mobile-optimized version. And about those apps: I *really* hate sites that offer apps, because they display a full-screen for their app whenever I visit - not once, but every frigging day - so if you offer an app please remember that you are disrespecting some of your customers too.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 26, 2013 at 9:27 a.m.

    That is what the study found, though the majority -- the 56% -- could, in fact, be using a full website, as you suggested Pete.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 27, 2013 at 11:46 a.m.

    Studies here. Studies there. Believe it or not, I also buy things on line even accepting a few sites on a regular basis to send me daily emails. I do find that searching and buying due to formats and viewing size is more amenable to my lap top than my iPad. (For a phone, I would need a huge magnifying glass first.) Then again, when you start speaking about privacy and apps and hacking and......, another Pandora's box opens.

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 27, 2013 at 11:52 a.m.

    Yes, Paula, Pandora City! But this study only focused on those who already had researched or bought via mobile, so is really a market subset.

  7. Jeff Zwelling from Convertro, March 1, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.

    Chuck, thanks for sharing this study. It brings up some great points. Since consumers are researching products on their smartphones and buying on their tablets, what does this mean for advertising on these devices? It is important for marketers to understand the value of advertising on these platforms, since so many consumers are using them to research and purchase items. Have you thought about the need to track such advertising? Marketers need to track, analyze and capitalize on these multiple touchpoints in order to evaluate every element that leads to a conversion. Attribution tools, like Convertro, allow marketers to shift spending toward the better performing sources for future campaigns.

    Jeff Zwelling
    CEO of Convertro

  8. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 1, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.

    You are most welcome, Jeff, and good point about advertising on the devices. Still need some better metrics (and better ad formats), for sure. All in due time.

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