Commentary

Shoppers Turning to Phones to Check Prices As They Shop

Retail sales continue to rise along with the inclusion of many mobile steps along the way.

Purchases made in stores and online will reach $22 trillion this year and $28 trillion in four years, according to the latest estimates from eMarketer.

The online component of the global projection is relatively small at 6% this year, increasing to 9% within four years.

That’s trillion with a “T.” While a small percentage of the total, the online component translates to $1.3 trillion and $2.5 trillion in four years.

The key in all of this is that the actual transaction can mask the overall impact of both online and mobile.

For example, another eMarketer report shows that many people are using their phones to check prices while shopping.

Mobile price-checking varies by age group, with the majority (53%) of those 21 to 29 years old checking prices, 48% of those 30 to 39 and 23% of those 40 to 49.

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A large number (78%) of mobile consumers use their phones to look up store information while holiday shopping, according that report.

Before they even go to a store, a third (33%) of U.S. mobile consumers use their devices to research products and a quarter (24%) read customer reviews, according to a survey of 5,000 online adults conducted by Forrester

And while shopping in a store, almost half (48%) use their phone to look for coupons or look up product information. That study also found that a significant percentage (46%) of consumers compare the store’s price with online prices.

The point is that the physical retail location may have the same look and feel as before mobile but a lot of the activity of how an individual interacts with and at that property is being forever altered.

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