Study: More Than 30 Percent Of Consumers “Mobile Only”

According to the new “Mobile Path to Purchase Study” from xAd and Telmetrics (conducted by Nielsen), mobile devices continue to grow in importance for consumers. Now in its third year, the study found roughly half of survey respondents believe mobile is the “most important resource” in their purchase decision-making.

More than a third said they only used mobile exclusively. This finding varies by vertical but in the aggregate is striking and something of a counter-weight to the “‘mobile first’ is so last year” argument now being made by Google and others.

The Mobile Path to Purchase study’s findings are based on a survey of 2,000 US mobile users (smartphone and tablet) and “actual observed behaviors” from Nielsen’s panel of 6,000 Apple and Android users.

The study focused on activity in four verticals: Automotive, Entertainment, Restaurant and Telecom. Subsequent releases will drill down into individual categories.

mobile path to purchase

One very important finding is that more consumers are starting with mobile, rather than simply using mobile devices when they’re “ready to buy.” More than half (54 percent) of users in the study were engaged in mobile research at home and a similar number reported starting their purchase research with mobile devices.

Only 20 percent of respondents said they “knew what they were looking for” when reaching for smartphones or tablets. What this argues is that marketers should be using mobile for “branding and awareness” as much as for direct response or directional campaigns.

By the same token mobile users are often very directed and “ready to buy.” The study found mobile shoppers in this mode were focused on reviews, business locations/contact info and coupons:

  • 53 percent of mobile shoppers called a business (local numbers preferred 3 to 1 vs. toll free)
  • 65 percent sought to complete purchases within a day
  • 64 percent of conversions happened offline

Location becomes highly relevant to these ready to buy mobile shoppers; so does price information and the availability of deals and coupons. When consumers are in a buying mood, more than half are looking for nearby locations to meet their needs or objectives.

Mobile path to purchase study

There will be some interesting wrinkles by vertical I’m sure. But the broad findings reinforce the notion that marketers must treat mobile shoppers with equal respect. They must not make simple assumptions about mobile user behavior or where they are in the purchase cycle simply because they’re on a mobile device.

Marketers should be looking to mobile as a brand advertising platform, just as much as they may use it for highly targeted local search campaigns.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Statistics: Mobile Marketing | Statistics: Online Behavior


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Killingmycareer

    Great Article-and important when designing or helping clients design websites to ensure the content is available/viable on all different devices.

  • XuanHuong Luong

    Thanks for sharing. Very informative. Which geographic region does this study covers?

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