Commentary

Shopping Frequency: Smartphones Up 64%; Physical Stores Down 30%

The idea that a consumer researches on their mobile device or laptop before heading to the store to make the actual purchase finally may be changing.

Studies have consistently shown that no matter which digital device a consumer uses to shop, the overwhelming majority ultimately want to go to the store or mall to get the actual product.

But mobile shopping finally may be turning into more of a single-device experience, with some consumers feeling just fine by shopping and buying from where they are.

Over the last year, there’s been a dramatic increase in the frequency of smartphone shopping, based on a new study.

The majority (64%) of consumers say they are smartphone shopping more frequently and only 9% less frequently.

The study comprised a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted by research company Ipsos for Bronto Software.

But the more significant finding is that the frequency of shopping in physical stores has not kept pace.

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By device, here are the numbers of consumers who are using that device for shopping more frequently:

  • 64% -- Smartphone
  • 60% -- Tablet
  • 57% -- Laptop
  • 57% -- Desktop
  • 29% -- Physical Store

Taken by itself, the percentage of people shopping in a physical store more frequently may seem insignificant, since most consumers already were shopping in stores. In addition, many (41%) made no change in their frequency of shopping in a store, another stability point.

However, almost a third (30%) of consumers shopped less frequently in a physical store. By device, this is where shopping occurred less frequently over the last year:

  • 30% -- Physical store
  • 11% -- Desktop
  • 11% -- Laptop
  • 11% -- Tablet
  • 9% -- Smartphone

Interestingly, almost the same percentage of consumers increased as decreased shopping in a physical store. But that tells only part of the story.

Of those who shopped more often in a store, 43% are 25-to-34 years old. Those with household incomes below $75,000 also shopped in stores more frequently.

In the youngest group, those 18-to-24 years old, 36% shopped less frequently in stores. The same is true for those with incomes of $100,000 and higher.

So a prized demographic seems to be more comfortable with mobile shopping.

Overall, purchasers using smartphones and laptops tend to be younger (18-44) and those using desktops to buy are older (45 or older). By smartphone purchasing, those 45-to-54 years old are 46% less likely to buy from a smartphone than 35-to-44 year-olds.

This matters, since about half of smartphone owners use them for shopping.

Another interesting tidbit in the study is that shoppers tend to purchase with the same device they used to shop, whether or not in the same session.

No matter whether consumers used a smartphone, laptop, desktop or tablet to shop during the last year, shopping has increased across every device.

Any retailers who sense that the mobile commerce phenomenon finally has passed may be missing the rest of the iceberg.

 

3 comments about "Shopping Frequency: Smartphones Up 64%; Physical Stores Down 30%".
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  1. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc., April 27, 2016 at 5:50 p.m.

    And of course, those over 55 don't shop at all. Do they? Hmm, how am I going to buy that dishwasher and new laptop I need? Maybe I should have my kids or grandkids buy it for me, because they shop.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 27, 2016 at 7:37 p.m.

    But aren't most sales still made at stores?

  3. Kevin Horne from Verizon, May 1, 2016 at 9:24 a.m.

    Wow. The last person I would have expected to conflate "shopping" and "buying"...

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