Commentary

Mobile Shopping: 49% Research Products, Compare Prices

Consumers continue to use their smartphones to shop, even if they don’t make the final purchase on their mobile device.

In retail, mobile may be responsible for only a relatively small piece of overall sales, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a critical factor in setting the stage for purchases.

While a purchase may be made in a physical store, a mobile device is becoming a critical shopping agent for research, checking inventory, comparing prices, finding a store and communicating with that store, according to a recent study.

More than a third (36%) of shoppers goes to a physical store at least weekly while only 11% shop that way via mobile phone, based on a global study by PwC.

However, the study also found that almost half (47%) have made a purchase via phone compared to 30% two years ago.

One conclusion in the study is that phones are more an instrument for getting to the point of buying a product rather than being used for the actual purchase. Here’s how people use their phones, as it relates to retail:

  • 49% -- Research products
  • 49% -- Compare prices with competitors
  • 31% – Locate store
  • 25% -- Use a coupon
  • 18% -- Check funding available before purchase
  • 16% -- Access loyalty/rewards program
  • 13% -- Scan QR code
  • 12% -- Pay at cashier
  • 12% -- Receive a location-based offer
  • 11% -- Check in via social media
  • 4% -- Tweet the retailer about product or offer

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While most shoppers don’t buy form their phones, they impact what gets bought and where.

Consistent with other studies, PwC found the biggest obstacle for 66% of consumers to be confidence about personal credit information being secure.

Another consideration is mobile behavior by demographic.

The study found that consumers 18-to-24 years old shop by phone more frequently than any other group, in every category of daily, weekly and monthly. In that group, 39% have never shopped via smartphone compared to more than half (56%) in other age groups.

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