According to a new study from the Local Search Association, titled The Mobile Fanatics – How Mobile is Transforming Local Shopping, 60% of US adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline.
The US Commerce Department says about 70% of the nearly $18 trillion US GDP is driven by consumer spending that occurs within 20 miles of home or work. While e-commerce grew to about $300 billion in 2014, it’s dwarfed by offline purchasing. Annual retail spending alone is a more than $4 trillion market. Offline consumer buying is increasingly influenced by the internet, now more frequently accessed on mobile devices, to the tune of trillions of dollars per year.
The shift from PCs to mobile for local search, and smartphones in particular, is partly the result of the emergence of a new segment of Mobile Fanatics. These heavy mobile users conduct at least 10 searches per week on at least two devices from multiple locations.
Neg Norton, President at LSA, says “’… Mobile Fanatics are a new and growing consumer segment… (they) are always shopping and considering products… (and can) be reached anytime and anywhere… the challenge… delivering relevant and engaging content when they pick up their devices…”
The Mobile Fanatic consumer base has begun to limit the effectiveness of traditional marketing methods. According to the study, 40% of consumers use a desktop PC or laptop when looking for local information online, a 9% decrease from 2014. The study shows that the consumer path to purchase is no longer linear in today’s environment, and marketers must be able to capitalize on this process to reach customers when they are ready to buy.
Norton continued, saying that “… consumers are no longer tied to a desktop PC… (they) now cycle through online and offline media, gathering information all the way through the purchasing process… marketers (reaching them) with the right content… can influence a consumer’s decision at any time due to the rise of mobile…”
Additional findings in the report beneficial to marketers and businesses include:
The study, conducted by Thrive Analytics for LSA, evaluated how the mobile device has changed the notion of the consumer and how marketers can uniquely target mobile users during the search process. The “Mobile Fanatics” consumer segmentation was created from a comprehensive survey of 2,147 U.S. adults.
For additional information from LSA, please visit here.