How Did People Use Their Mobile Phones During The Holiday Shopping Season:

mobile app shopping

I love this photo. I use it at the start of almost all of my presentations lately. It’s of a couple that’s expecting a baby, sitting on the floor of a Target, comparison shopping and looking up reviews of baby monitors.

This was taken early 2011 so this US, PEW research is not surprising to me at all:

More than half of adult cell phone owners used their cell phones while they were in a store during the 2011 holiday season to seek help with purchasing decisions. During a 30 day period before and after Christmas:

  • 38% of cell owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making
  • 24% of cell owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store
  • 25% of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else

Taken together, just over half (52%) of all adult cell owners used their phone for at least one of these three reasons over the holiday shopping season and one third (33%) used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store—either product reviews or pricing information.

Detailed findings—online product reviews and calling friends for purchasing advice

There are a number of demographic patterns in these survey findings. Specifically:

  • Cell owners ages 18-49 are significantly more likely to use their phones for online product reviews than are cell owners ages 50 and older. Cell owners ages 65 and older are especially unlikely to do this—just 4% did so this holiday season.
  • Urban and suburban cell owners are roughly twice as likely as rural cell owners to have recently used their phone to look up online reviews of a product they found in a physical store.
  • Non-white cell owners are more likely than white cell owners to look up online product reviews, and those who have attended college are more likely to do so than those who have not.

One in five “mobile price matchers” ultimately made their most recent purchase from an online store, rather than a physical location

When asked what happened on the most recent occasion where they used their phone to look up the price online of a product they found in a store, these mobile price matchers point to a range of outcomes:

  • 37% decided to not purchase the product at all
  • 35% purchased the product at that store
  • 19% purchased the product online
  • 8% purchased the product at another store
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About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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