Americans embrace mobile commerce


Three quarters of US consumers plan to use their mobile device for their holiday shopping this year

Three quarters of US consumers are using their mobile devices to plan their holiday shopping this year, with in-store price comparisons, also known as showrooming, and mobile coupons as the primary reasons for shoppers to reach for their mobile device.

New research from mobile advertising specialist MobPartner reveals that three quarters of consumers in the US have already used or intend to use their mobile device to plan their shopping over the festive season.

The study of 500 US consumers into m-commerce usage and attitudes reveals that the most popular functions that US consumers use their mobile devices for while holiday shopping are to research products and prices (37%) and to collect coupons and special offers for discounts in-store or online (37%). Significantly, the report found that there was only a marginal usage difference between consumer m-commerce habits on tablets versus mobile phones.

The research found that comparing prices online is now a firmly established consumer behaviour, with only 8% of respondents stating that they do not compare prices between goods in-store and online at all.

Altogether, 40% identified a mobile device as their primary means of researching and comparing prices, ahead of a PC or laptop. Moreover, when it comes to showrooming, using a mobile phone to compare in-store prices with online prices of the same product, a larger number of respondents (55%) admitted having done so at least once. Showrooming is more popular among men (61%) than women (51%). The research also found no substantial difference in its popularity between iOS and Android device users, at 68% and 65% respectively.

However, survey respondents who used a different mobile platform to iOS or Android were less likely to showroom generally, with only 39% of non-iOS or Android users saying that they had done so. This suggests that retailers should prioritise their m-commerce apps and websites that are optimised for the iOS and Android platforms, ahead of other operating systems such as Windows Phone and Blackberry, claimed MobPartner.

The research also found that as well as price comparisons, in the run up to the holiday season the other feature that US consumers will use their mobile device most for is searching for coupons and vouchers for in-store special offers. When asked if receiving a coupon or special offer on their mobile phone or tablet has prompted them to go into a store and make a purchase, opinion was split between the 45% who had against 55% who had not. This result suggests that retailers still have scope to improve their use of mobile coupons as a mechanism for driving in-store footfall.

From an operating system perspective, the research suggests that iOS users are slightly more responsive than Android users to coupons; 59% of iOS users said that they had redeemed a mobile coupon in-store versus 52% of Android users.

When it comes to which channels are the most popular and effective for receiving a coupon, an SMS or email sent directly from a retailer came top among respondents, with 41% and 36% respectively. Nearly a third (31%) reported finding a coupon on a social network, while 28% of respondents discovered an offer via a mobile ad.

When the survey asked respondents how they would prefer to receive offers from their favourite brands and retailers, email received the most votes followed by SMS message. While mobile phones and tablets were the most popular devices for receiving offers, 29% still preferred to use a PC or laptop.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Djamel Agaoua, chairman of MobPartner, said: 'It's clear that the rise of m-commerce is dramatically changing consumer shopping preferences and habits. The successful retailers will be those that can quickly incorporate mobile into the whole shopping experience, from browsing to checkout, in a way that's engaging and valuable to consumers. We believe that mobile devices will radically change both online and physical retail over the next few years, and our focus is on helping retailers navigate this exciting but challenging shift.'


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