It’s not news to say that smartphone and feature phone owners use their devices as an active part of in-store shopping. Previous surveys have revealed that more than 80 and even 90 percent of smartphone owners do this.
Now a new Pew survey (n=1,003) finds that 58 percent of all mobile phone owners use their handsets as part of shopping in stores this past holiday season:
- 46 percent of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to call a friend or family member for advice about a purchase they were considering.
- 28 percent of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to look up reviews of a product to help decide if they should purchase it or not.
- 27 percent of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to look up the price of a product, to see if they could get a better price elsewhere.
Pew found, among smartphone owners, that 72 percent “did at least one of these with their phones this holiday season.” Among the 27 percent who looked up price information in stores, Pew found the following:
- 46 percent purchased the product at that particular store
- 30 percent decided to not purchase the product at all
- 12 percent purchased the product online
- 6 percent purchased the product at a different store
While Pew doesn’t seek to interpret these results one might argue that 48 percent were negatively influenced by their price research either not to buy the product or to buy somewhere else. This is not the only interpretation of the data but it is highly plausible one.
Among the 28 percent of mobile phone owners who consulted product reviews in stores, Pew said that adults 18 to 29 and smartphone owners were more likely than the general mobile population to do so. Fifty six percent of younger mobile phone owners did this according to the survey.
Once again all this data argues that all retailers need to be executing a mobile strategy today. There are a range of things they can do to maintain customer loyalty and combat showrooming. But they need to actively address the increasingly large consumer segment that uses their phones in stores.