inal Shah is a digital strategist at JWT in New York. Before joining JWT, Jinal worked at Advanta, where she createdideablob.com, the very first social network launched by a financial services company. Follow her @jinal_shah.
As we all know, the spike in smartphone adoption is changing the way users interact with their mobile devices. For instance, phone calls are no longer the point of phones for many of us.
Instead, we expect our phones to perform more complicated tasks in shorter amounts of time, and we take them with us wherever we go. People also treat the smartphone as a first screen, rather than a second screen, because it’s the go-to device to instantly source real-time information like directions, prices, and reviews.
In fact, most people look at their phone about 150 times a day, (that’s roughly once every 6.5 minutes),according to Qualcomm CEO, Paul Jacobs. Those glances are to check incoming e-mail and text messages, but mobile web browsing is exploding as well. In part, that’s because of mobile shopping.
These days, consumers are indeed using their smartphones to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce. IBM reported that Black Friday sales were up 24.3% in 2011 and attributed some of these gains to mobile device purchases, which “surged to 9.8% from 3.2%,” compared to the same time last year.
In an effort to learn more about who these mobile shoppers are, we conducted a quantitative study, zeroing in on adults (we define adults as anyone 18 years old and above) who used a smartphone or tablet to shop during the holiday season. What we found is that consumers are constantly integrating their smartphones into their shopping routines all year round. Below, are seven other interesting facts about how this plays out.
1. Mobile Shopping Doesn’t Equal Mobile Purchasing
While browsing is up, mobile shoppers aren’t necessarily using their phones to complete the purchase cycle. In fact, of all the activities for which shoppers use their phones, purchasing is one of the least popular, with price comparison ranking the highest. Mobile shoppers overwhelmingly cite security concerns as the top reason for not completing purchases with their phones.
2. Men Are More Likely To Consult Their Phone
One thing is clear, men are more likely to use mobile devices as in-store companions for all types of shopping activities, from price comparisons to gathering information for a purchase. Men are also more apt to use their mobile phones for shopping outside of traditional retail settings.
3. Mobile Devices Often Trump Computers
The majority of mobile shopping is done in locations where computers are more readily accessible, such as at home and work. Part of this may be because some employees prefer to do personal browsing and web shopping on a mobile device rather than a computer attached to a corporate network.
4. Mobile Phones Hardly Impact Shopping Habits
Most mobile purchasers say they would buy all or some of the same items, whether or not they were shopping on a mobile device. So while mobile purchasing trends don’t have a huge impact on goods, bought or sold, they do establish a new commerce channel with a potentially different purchase funnel.
5. The Mobile Experience is Good
Of those who shop on their mobile device, 69% believe the experience is either “excellent” or “very good.” Most consider it a convenience to use a mobile device rather than wait in line.
6. But It Still Needs Some Work
Despite the convenience factor of mobile phones, there is plenty of room for improvement, particularly in the user experience of the commerce sites themselves. Most mobile users were dissatisfied with the difficulty of navigating mobile shopping sites, lack of product information on those sites, and the need for better mobile shopping apps. It appears that one of the biggest consumer obstacles — perception of mobile web security — also needs to be addressed more fully before a broader swath of consumers feels comfortable entering credit card info via their smartphones.
7. Touchscreens Are Preferred
We are witnessing a new user behavior that is being driven largely by adoption of tablets and touchscreen phones. These offer an easier web-browsing experience that turns an Amazon.com purchase into what it should be: a natural, no-fuss, alternative that allows for greater convenience.