Mobile Shopping Becoming Commonplace For Consumers

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M-commerce is well on its way to becoming a routine method of shopping, separate studies by Nielsen and PriceGrabber suggest.

Nielsen, which metered the smartphones of 5,000 U.S. volunteers, said the majority of owners used their devices for shopping this past holiday season, and that consumers are increasingly using smartphones to compare prices, research products and reviews, find retail locations and redeem coupons.

“Mobile shopping has reached scale and is only going to grow as smartphone penetration continues to rise,” said John Burbank, Nielsen’s strategic initiatives president.

The five top retail apps and websites combined — led by Amazon and followed by eBay, Target, Walmart and Best Buy — reached nearly 60 percent of smartphone owners during the 2011 holiday season, Nielsen noted. Owners prefer retailers’ mobile websites over mobile apps, the research showed, although consumers who use retailers’ mobile apps tend to spend more time on them.

“Retailers need to think of their business as a multichannel environment that can potentially include mobile, online and bricks-and-mortar stores,” Burbank advised. “Winning with shoppers requires a consistent experience across channels that reinforces the values you represent as a retail brand, whether it be price, service, reviews, selection, style or other key attributes.”

The propensity to shop with handheld devices appears even higher among tablet users. According to a recent poll by PriceGrabber, fully 77 percent of consumers with tablet computers use a tablet or a smartphone to shop, with most making purchases more than once a month.

Specifically, 40 percent of tablet owners said they make purchases with their tablet or smartphone twice a month, 23 percent do so once a week, 20 percent indicated a few times a year, and 10 percent said daily. Tablet owners also have an average of seven shopping apps loaded onto their mobile devices, the survey showed.

“PriceGrabber continues to see a dramatic surge in mobile shopping, with more consumers making purchases from their mobile devices,” said Graham Jones, general manager of online comparison shopping site. “We expect mobile shopping to be game-changing as consumers increasingly enact various strategies to find the best prices and retailers inevitably expand their mobile presence.”

Separately, a recent consumer survey by market research firm ClickIQ found that Best Buy does the best job of keeping mobile shoppers in the house, while Amazon remains the biggest m-commerce beneficiary with double-digit conversions.

Best Buy manages to convert 35 percent of shoppers who use a mobile device to research a product while inside its stores, the study showed, while another 14 percent make the purchase on


However, 21 percent end up buying the product from


Best Buy is also frequented most often for in-store research, with 36 percent of respondents visiting its brick-and-mortar locations to shop. Walmart followed at 30 percent, but only retained 36 percent of sales by in-store mobile shoppers (26 percent in-store and 10 percent online) and lost 24 percent to Amazon.

Third-place Target drew 29 percent of in-store mobile shoppers but converted 29 percent in-store, 8 percent online, and lost 21 percent to Amazon.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said price was the biggest determinant of where they made the final purchase. Lagging behind was availability (14 percent), features (8 percent), free shipping (7 percent) and “already at the store” (4 percent).


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