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Shoppers shun marathons for moments

News, 21 October 2015

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Fewer shoppers plan on braving crowded malls for extended periods this holiday season with more likely to purchase via smartphone in their spare moments according to a new study.

"Shopping moments will replace shopping marathons", according to a Google blogpost.

After analysing its own data and working with Ipsos MediaCT to survey consumers on their holiday shopping intentions, the internet giant reported that shorter, more purposeful mobile sessions are replacing the schlep around the shops.

Just how much more purposeful was evident in the finding that shoppers now spend 7% less time in each mobile session even as smartphones' share of online shopping purchases have gone up 64% over the last year; 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phone.

Overall, more than half (54%) of holiday shoppers said they planned to shop on their smartphones in spare moments – like walking or commuting – throughout the day.

This trend has major implications for brands, according to Lisa Gevelber, vp/marketing at Google. "In these micro-moments, being there and being useful for customers matter more than ever," she wrote in the foreword to a recent report from the Harvard Business Review, Micro-moments and the shopper journey.

"Companies that measure and respond to micro-moments are gaining a very big edge on the competition."

There is no time to waste, since six in ten holiday shoppers have already started researching purchases, although actual purchase will take place later. "There is no longer a sense of urgency since every day is a shopping day," Google's blog noted.

Consequently, event days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer the draws they once were.

But Google said that Sunday remains "consistently the most popular day for shopping on smartphones"; on average, mobile shopping searches are 18% higher on Sundays than the rest of the week.

Data sourced from Google, Harvard Business Review; additional content by Warc staff