Survey: Mobile Will Loom Large In Holiday Shopping

A new survey from online shopping portal PriceGrabber argues that mobile devices will play a major role in holiday shopping this year. So for all those marketers and retailers still without a mobile strategy: you were warned. The PriceGrabber data come from a US online survey conducted during two weeks in September. The survey had 2,469 responses.

The survey found that 31 percent of consumers “already have shopping-related apps on their smartphone,” with 82 percent of those people planning to use them to save money over the holidays. Roughly a third of survey respondents said “they plan to download new shopping apps in preparation for the upcoming 2012 holiday season.”

What Kind of Apps?

You guessed it: coupon apps. Seventy percent named coupon apps as the top category of apps they planned to download. After that here’s the hierarchy of desired holiday shopping apps/tools according to the survey:

  • 66 percent — comparison shopping apps
  • 63 percent — price check apps
  • 54 percent — Black Friday deals apps.
  • 43 percent — deal-of-the-day apps (e.g., Groupon)
  • 32 percent — price calculators (to determine discounts, tax and total cost of purchases)
  • 30 percent — gift list apps

Small Device, Big Ticket

Some of the inhibitions against making big purchases on mobile devices appear to be falling away:

  • 42 percent of consumers plan to purchase both big- and small-ticket items with a mobile shopping app
  • 41 percent will purchase small-ticket items under $100
  • 10 percent plan to purchase all holiday gifts through mobile apps
  • 7 percent will purchase big-ticket items over $100

Save on Gas, Add Efficiency

Some consumers are looking to use m-commerce to avoid crowds and add efficiency to their holiday shopping. Nearly half of these PriceGrabber respondents said they would make fewer trips to retail locations this year:

  • 45 percent of consumers said they would probably make same amount of trips to physical retail stores
  • 7 percent indicated more trips to stores
  • 48 percent said fewer trips this year

We can assume that the population surveyed by PriceGrabber was more shopping savvy that the overall population of US consumers. As a result these findings may not be representative of smartphone owners generally or the broader market.

What the survey does suggest however is that consumers will be aggressively using mobile apps to help them research products, do price comparisons and otherwise save money during Q4 holiday shopping. It also argues mobile commerce will see meaningful growth in Q4 as a sub-segment of overall e-commerce.

Need New ROI Concepts

Many marketers are held back from aggressively jumping into mobile by an apparent absence of clear ROI. However because mobile consumer behavior and usage are different than PC user behavior, we need new ROI definitions and concepts.

Notwithstanding the above findings about intended m-commerce purchases most users don’t “convert” on smartphones. Google and others have found that increasingly consumers use multiple devices during the same day to research and buy things. The smartphone is central to consumer research but conversions tend to happen in stores, on the PC or tablets much more often.

Nonetheless, marketers who sit out mobile in Q4 may find that they lose out on the ability to influence offline or in-store consumer purchases and lose out to competitors in online sales as well.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Mobile Marketing | Statistics: Mobile Marketing | Top News


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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