With the holiday shopping season merely a handful of weeks out, and Black Friday set to kick off in earnest shortly as well, a new development has hit the field based on research from The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, who studied the field and discovered that using mobile devices to go shopping has made some major gains over the course of the last two years. While 25 percent of shoppers did so in 2012, that number climbed to fully 35 percent in 2013.
Much of the responsibility for the hefty increase, according to the study's numbers, came from some key demographics, notably the Hispanic and Asian-American markets, who increased mobile purchasing 11 percent and 10 percent respectively in the time period considered, and the 15 – 34 and 35 – 49 year old markets, who upped spending 10 percent and 12 percent respectively.
But the mobile device isn't just being used as a purchasing vector; it's also being used as a means to step up the shopping process. For instance, 15 percent of shoppers overall noted that only a “couple of minutes” went by between discovering the product exists on the mobile device and actually making a purchase. Males pulled the trigger faster than females, with 17 percent of males making rapid purchases as compared to 13 percent of females, and Hispanics had the shortest overall time, with 47 percent of all respondents tending to make purchases with a matter of hours of discovering the product's existence.
Some unusual idiosyncrasies, however, emerged as a result of the study. 60 percent of respondents said that baby product purchases online were completely out of the picture, having both never made such purchases nor having any plans to do so. 47 percent have never purchased food or beverages online, and fewer than 10 percent will download a retailer's app. But despite the fact that just over a third of shoppers at 34 percent will make a list on a mobile phone before shopping, just eight percent will use the official retailer's list-making tool.
Essentially, as The Integer Group's senior vice president of insight and strategy Craig Elston puts it, it's no longer a matter of will customers turn to mobile devices in regards to purchasing, but how customers will do so, because in increasingly large proportions, customers will indeed do just that. From comparing prices to checking for product reviews, there are plenty of applications put to work and retailers—particularly those in a brick-and-mortar capacity who want to remain operational—need to be prepared to address that growth.
It's not easy for businesses to be ready for the growth of mobile devices. All too often, brick-and-mortar businesses end up as product exhibition areas for shoppers—a practice known as “showrooming”-- while shoppers turn to websites to get the best deals on the products in question. But brick-and-mortar stores do have critical advantages, like sheer immediacy—no website can, as yet, have a product to the user in a matter of minutes—and harnessing both these unique advantages and means to counter the advantages of online shopping should prove beneficial for most businesses. It's almost time for the biggest shopping season of the year, and one thing this study proves more than anything is that it's a vastly different ball game. Being prepared for those differences, meanwhile, will prove valuable for more reasons than some may expect.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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