Mobile shaping purchases

28 April 2011

NEW YORK: Smartphones are playing an increasingly important role in shaping the purchase decisions of US shoppers, a study by Google and Ipsos OTX has found.

The two firms surveyed 5,013 smartphone owners, and reported that 81% regularly surf the net via this route, while 77% access search engines, 68% leverage apps and 48% stream video.

Simultaneous media use was also widespread, as 72% of those polled were active on their touchphone when consuming other channels, including 33% doing so at the same time as watching TV.

More broadly, 93% of participants used gadgets like the iPhone and alternatives powered by Google Android at home, suggesting they have grown beyond solely being deployed on-the-move.

Search engines proved the most-visited category of website, as 77% of interviewees logged on to these platforms through their phone, beating social networks, ecommerce portals and video-sharing services.

Overall, 90% of mobile enquiries entered on properties such as Google and Bing resulted in some form of concrete outcome, be it buying something, travelling to a store or calling a company.

Indeed, 24% of contributors recommended brands and products after inputting a search enquiry in this way.

Elsewhere, 71% of respondents had searched the mobile web in response to advertising, with traditional media ads registering 68% here, measured against mobile's 27% and online's 18%.

Another 82% could recall viewing ads on a wireless handset, and half of this group engaged in a positive reaction, incorporating 49% making a purchase and 35% going to a website.

Mobiles are also exerting a growing influence as a "shopping tool", with 79% of people possessing smartphones having used them to compare prices, find product specifications or locate retailers.

Exactly 74% have previously bought goods and services as a consequence of using smartphones for parallel purposes, whether it be in stores, online or from mcommerce platforms.

Similarly, 70% had employed their phones for these reasons when in bricks and mortar shops.

Local information was revealed to be especially popular, as 95% of the audience looked for such content on a handset, and 88% took action within a day of tracking down relevant material.

A 77% share contacted a company, with 61% calling on the phone and 59% attending a physical outlet.

"Make sure you can be found via mobile search as consumers regularly use their phones to find and act on information," the study said.

"Incorporate location-based products and services and make it easy for mobile customers to reach you because local information seeking is common among smartphone users."

Further recommendations included developing a meaningful cross-channel strategy, and taking advantage of mobile advertising which taps in to concurrent media usage.

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff