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Mobile Shopping Not Just For the Young Any More

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

April 15, 2014

Mobile Shopping Not Just For the Young Any More

By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

While for most of us, it's fairly commonplace to associate mobile commerce with a young marketplace—teenagers and ‘twenty-somethings’ turning to mobile devices--while older counterparts hit computers instead and still older counterparts eschew it all and hit the stores, the newest numbers are showing an altogether different picture.

 A new study from Thrive Analytics shows just how far this particular concept is going, and how it's making its presence felt in every walk of life.

The Thrive Analytics study, released by the Local Search Association and titled, “Local Mobile Trends Study,” gathered information from 1,058 smartphone users and was split among four separate groups: the Gen Y market (18 – 29 year olds for this study), Gen X (30 – 43), Young Boomers (44 – 53) and Older Boomers / Seniors (54 years old and up). There were of course some key differences among the various groups—for instance, Gen Y respondents were more likely to turn to smartphones every time a brick-and-mortar store was involved than Older Boomers / Seniors by a score of 26 percent for Gen Y to just six percent for Older Boomers / Seniors.

But at the same time, there were marked similarities among the groups as well. All the groups responded in large number to using mobile devices for shopping to find better prices and discounts, with 60 percent of both Gen Y and Gen X turning to mobiles for discounts, 52 percent of Young Boomers and 51 percent of Older Boomers / Seniors.

Similar numbers resulted in relation to finding coupons and other special offers, with 56 percent of Gen Y, 59 percent of Gen X, 52 percent of Young Boomers and 50 percent of Older Boomers / Seniors. Additionally, small numbers of the segments felt guilty about using technology in this fashion; the guiltiest party was oddly enough Gen X, who felt guilty in 10 percent of cases, while Young Boomers and Gen Y tied at eight percent and Older Boomers / Seniors came in at a mere six percent.

What's more, users are universally willing to, in the majority, share locations and “check in” on various social sites, though the reasons for doing so are different. The younger crowd is more willing to check in as a social function, but the older bracket is more willing to do so if special offers are afforded to those who do check in. While there's some mixing throughout the bracket, the point is, checking in is something everyone is likely to do, just for different reasons.

But the takeaway from all this is a point that every retailer needs to know and understand. Everyone may be willing to use mobile devices in connection with the shopping experience overall. Planning on the younger generations doing so is a good idea, but in so doing—at least in isolation—two major markets are left out of the planning and potentially out of consideration in terms of realizing revenue accordingly. For local businesses, this is a key planning point; incorporating the mobile device into loyalty programs or product updates is going to be a smart idea that reaches more walks of life than one might expect.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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