Brands fall short on mobile

20 June 2011

NEW YORK: A majority of smartphone users in countries like the US, Japan and UK are using these devices when shopping, but brands are lagging behind such trends, a study has revealed.

The Mobile Marketing Association partnered with Google to assess the current landscape among individuals possessing handsets including the iPhone and alternatives powered by Google Android.

Research firms TNS Infratest and Ipsos surveyed consumers in France, Germany, Japan, the UK and US, as well as 1,000 marketing executives, to gain an insight into the evolving habits and attitudes of both audiences.

Overall, 78% of Japanese smartphone owners logged on to the web via this route on a daily basis during the week before the poll.

This figure stood at 59% for the French panel, 58% for the US, 55% for the UK, and 45% for Germany.

Furthermore, 68% of Japanese contributors reported browsing the internet from a wireless handset several times a day.

This proportion fell to 58% in the US, 49% in the UK, 47% in France and 42% in Germany.

More broadly, growing numbers of shoppers are utilising various smartphone features while in bricks and mortar stores, such as scanning barcodes to access product information or going online to compare prices.

Totals here achieved 82% in the US and France, Japan generated 75%, the UK registered 68%, and Germany 65%.

M-commerce uptake is also rising, as shown by the fact 45% of Japanese subscribers had made a purchase from their phone.

Ratings hit 29% for the Americans interviewed, 28% in relation to their German and British peers, and 17% in France.

Elsewhere, between 80% and 90% of the sample across each market analysed had looked for local information - like the address of a store or restaurant - on a mobile phone.

A similar percentage had taken concrete action, such as phoning and visiting a business, as a consequence of this activity.

Turning to the results delivered by the marketing leaders questioned during the research, it appears that they are out-of step with an increasingly important group of buyers at present.

Only 43% of companies represented in Japan had a website optimisied for mobile phones, an approach implemented by 37% of German operators.

Exactly a third of US corporations had pursued parallel initiatives, falling to 17% for the UK and 12% in France.

The amount of firms leveraging mobile apps also remains somewhat muted, peaking at just 26% in Germany.

A 19% share of US companies have moved into this space, measured against 18% in France, 15% for the UK and 10% in Japan.

When asked to describe the main principle behind their mobile strategies, 65% of managers cited the research phase of the purchase process as assuming a primary position.

"While the mobile revolution is moving at different speeds across the globe, it is evident everywhere," Natalie Rojowsky, from Google's mobile ads research team, said.

"This research underscored how consumers are using their mobile devices to access the web, look for local information, and purchase products and services. Businesses seem to be lagging behind the consumer in terms of use and support of mobile marketing which represents a significant opportunity."

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff