Commentary

Smartphone Purchasing by Apps, 25%; Websites, 75%

For mobile commerce, websites still dominate apps for making a purchase.

A new global study finds that only a quarter of those in the U.S. who have made a purchase via smartphone did so via an app. The other three quarters used either a mobile website or a full site.

The highest app purchasing is in Mexico (40%) and the lowest is in the U.S. (25%), according to the second annual Pulse of the Online Shopper study conducted by comScore for UPS.

The 14-country study comprised an online survey of 19,000 people who made at least two online purchases in a typical three-month period.

The study categorizes the results by the U.S., Asia, Europe, Brazil and Mexico, frequently finding differences by region.

For example, 41% of those in the U.S. who have made a purchase on a smartphone used a retailer’s full website compared to 27% in Asia and 32% in Europe.

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Overall purchasing by smartphone also has not hit majority status in most regions, with shoppers in Asia leading and those in Europe trailing. Here’s the percentage of online shoppers who have made a smartphone purchase:

  • 55% -- Asia
  • 41% -- U.S.
  • 40% -- Brazil
  • 39% -- Mexico
  • 26% -- Europe

Making smartphone purchases by app varies by region. Here’s the breakdown of smartphone purchasing via app:

  • 40% -- Mexico
  • 33% -- Brazil
  • 31% -- Asia
  • 28% -- Europe
  • 25% -- U.S.

Consistent with many other studies, comScore found that the top smartphone activity for online shoppers in the U.S. is finding or redeeming coupons, also the number one activity in China.

This begs the question of why more smartphone owners aren’t using their phones to purchase things, and the study finds a number of reasons.

While screen sizes have been getting bigger, they still don’t provide a clear or large enough image of a product, according to 43% of U.S. shoppers. About a third (34%) say product information cannot be easily viewed and 31% say it’s hard to compare products.

In-store phone usage is highest in Brazil, used by almost all (92%) smartphone users compared to about two in three in the U.S., which is higher than other studies have found.

The top smartphone uses for U.S. consumers in stores are comparing prices (36%), reading reviews and feedback (27%) and contacting friends or family to request feedback on a product (23%).

While consumers may not use their phones for the actual purchase, many are using them throughout the entire shopping process.

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