Smartphones as Must-​Have Shopping Tool to Prompt Retailer App Rollouts

With holiday shopping reaching a fever pitch, mobile devices are playing a bigger role in the purchase process. The new Mobile Shoppers report from the IAB shows exactly where the most active mobile device consumers live. In addition, the report shares new insights about how they are using their smartphones in the stores.

Shoppers with smartphones in certain regions are making a big impact with their devices. Top mobile hot zones range from Houston (TX), number 1 on the IAB list, to Seattle (WA), San Francisco (CA), and New York City.

Just owning a smartphone increases the odds that consumers will shop on the device. At least 80% of these users are doing so. Up to 27% of smartphone owners are either accessing retailer mobile sites or apps. For the most part, women have caught up with men when it comes to using the smartphone for shopping. Currently, 51% of smartphone retail visitors are male and 49% are female. Not surprisingly, the smartphone retail shoppers tend to be younger than the desktop computer retail shoppers.

As shoppers walk the store aisles, they’re using their smartphone to:

  • Contact a friend/​relative to discuss purchase 37%
  • Check online prices 35%
  • Locate additional product information 31%
  • Access social media 30%
  • Scanned barcode to check prices/​availability 30%
  • Acquired/​redeemed coupons/​offers 23%
  • Location-​based search 22%

In the past year, the number of consumers who own some type of smart mobile device has jumped 11% — from 57% to 68%. At least 56% of these consumers use the smartphone while they are in the stores. For tablets, the number is much smaller at 28%.

These numbers are additional evidence that retailers who wait to optimize their mobile presence are losing money and momentum.

[Source: Mobile Shoppers 2012. IAB​.net. 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.