US retailers wary of mobile

11 December 2013
CHICAGO: The proportion of major US retailers using mobile as part of their marketing strategy has fallen since last year, a recent survey has found, although those that do have significantly increased their mobile marketing budget.

Even though m-commerce is growing, research from BDO USA found only 38% of leading US retailers planned to use mobile marketing for the holiday season compared with 50% last year.

However, BDO's "Retail Compass Survey of CMOs" study also found that mobile has grown to 15% of marketing spend for those retailers planning to use the medium, up from 5.9% in 2012, retailwire reported.

Despite fewer retailers opting for mobile in their marketing mix, social media held its own with a full 88% planning to use the medium this holiday season, representing 14% of digital paid media spend, up from 10% in 2012.

Furthermore, BDO partner Natalie Kotlyar told MediaPost, a huge 99% of marketers planned to use Facebook while 52% were leveraging Twitter, 27% used Pinterest and 24% were making use of YouTube.

It would appear that the reason for retailers' hesitancy about mobile is because they find it hard to pin down mobile's return-on-investment (ROI) while other evidence suggests smartphones are being used more for research than actual purchasing.

"I think retailers are indecisive," she said. "There are an overwhelming number of mobile possibilities, and to a certain extent, the economy is uncertain … so it makes sense to me that they are thinking they will sit on the sidelines for now and wait to see what works for others."

Retailers, she said, faced a dilemma about whether mobile is creating brand recognition or if it's creating demand and building sales – although she expressed confidence that more consumers will be using their phones to make purchases a year from now.

In other findings, BDO said 41% of the CMOs surveyed planned to invest mostly in traditional print ads this year while 29% planned to spend the majority of their marketing spend on broadcast media.

Data sourced from retailwire, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff
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