Most consumers are researching products before stepping foot in a brick-and-mortar store, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) found in its latest report, but the path to purchase is still mostly likely to conclude in the storefront .
According to the CTA’s “Path to Purchase Using Mobile Devices Market Research” report, 60 percent of U.S. consumers use mobile technology for shopping, and 67 percent searched online for additional product information. Nine in 10 mobile device owners have at least one subscription to access coupons, promotions, and special discounts, CTA added.
"Every step of the consumer's path to purchase has dramatically changed with the use of smartphones, from triggering interest in considering technology products to purchase and sometimes post purchase behavior that includes posting online reviews," said Steve Koenig, CTA market research senior director, CTA. "The retail market continues to change with the innovations associated with smartphone technologies — such as location-based services and apps — creating new opportunities for both brick-and-mortar and online retailers to meet the changing needs of consumers."
The report dovetails with the findings of a recent study from GfK, which said 46 percent of Gen Z shoppers researched an item on a mobile device and then purchased it in a physical store.
Among the findings from CTA:
*Consumers prefer mobile-optimized websites over apps: 51 percent of online purchases are made via online-only retailer websites vs. the 24 percent who purchase with online-only retailer apps or multichannel retailer websites or apps.
*Seventy-six percent of consumers use existing online accounts to make a purchase; the remaining use guest checkout options or sign up for a new account.
*Despite high ownership of mobile devices — CTA said smartphones are owned in 74 percent of U.S. households — 41 percent of consumers still use a desktop or laptop to assist in shopping.
*Sixty-one percent of purchases are made at a brick-and-mortar store, with 29 percent of consumers searching for product info while they are in the store.
*U.S. online consumer spending via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets almost doubled during the 2016 holiday season — increasing 45 percent to $20.1 billion.