Study reveals shoppers' smartphone habits

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 26, 2011

Study reveals shoppers' smartphone habits

Mobile retail websites have emerged as an indispensible in-store tool for consumers - especially users of smartphone handsets - as they shop, according to a survey by mobile marketing firm Hipcricket.

The fourth annual Hipcricket Mobile Marketing Survey found that consumers, particularly smartphone owners, are increasingly turning to mobile retail web sites as a tool for finding the products they want, searching for coupons and special discounts, and comparing prices at competitors' stores.

Some 63% of smartphone users said they have visited a retailer's website from their mobile device (up from 53% in 2010) and 41% have done so while in the retail store. Interestingly, 50% said they had checked a competitor's mobile website while in another store.

While mobile retail sites have historically served as simple product brochures, lightweight versions of retailers' full websites that provide limited information such as store locations, directions and hours, today's mobile-specific retail sites are now providing more significant benefits to consumers as they move along their path to purchase.

The survey found that smartphone owners are visiting mobile retail sites to:

  1. Research prices (46%);
  2. Search for coupons and offers (36%);
  3. Research products (28%);
  4. Purchase products (13%).

In general, consumers are finding more value in the mobile web, with 70% of all smartphone users regularly using their phone to access the mobile web, second only to SMS/texting among media usage on mobile devices.

When asked if any of their favourite brands market to them via their mobile phone, only 9% said "yes" - comparable to figures from the 2010 survey. At the same time, consumers continue to indicate a willingness to join mobile customer relationship management (CRM) or loyalty programmes for their favourite brands, with 33% being interested in joining such a programme, while only 12% currently participate in one. Three quarters (75%) of those surveyed said they found value in participating in mobile loyalty clubs.

Other significant findings from the survey included:

  • 61% of smartphone users are at least somewhat likely to use their mobile device while shopping this holiday season;  
  • 31% of all mobile phone users have interacted with a brand through their mobile device, up slightly from 2010 (30%), while 59% of smartphone users have done so;  
  • 33% of cell phone users are interested in receiving offers based on time and location - for example, a coupon delivered at 4:00pm for US$5 off a pizza at a local shop that night only.

"The mobile web has entered the mainstream, and consumers are using mobile retail sites as an important tool in the shopping process," said Eric Harber, COO for Hipcricket. "While consumers are actively searching the mobile retail Web, they also continue to wait for their favourite brands to engage with them on their mobile devices. This presents a great opportunity for retailers and brands to create valuable conversations with their customers across all mobile channels."

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