Local businesses are often the most hesitant about investing time and money into getting their business online, but recent studies are overwhelmingly showing that businesses without an online presence are missing out on huge opportunities, especially with the growing-number of smartphone-savvy consumers.

First, comScore found that 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an online purchase. Now, new consumer data from Ipsos MediaCT, a research firm sponsored by Google, confirms many of comScore’s data and also finds that local search may be important in more phases of the buying cycle than previously thought.

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Ipsos collected the data through an online survey of 4,500 consumers from nine vertical segments including Auto, CPG, Finance, Local Services, Media & Entertainment, Restaurant, Retail, and Tech and Travel. The firm also reviewed and incorporated data from a smartphone shopper diary study involving 653 respondents.

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Perhaps the most eye-raising finding of the survey is the news that 88 percent of smartphone users and 84 percent of tablet users conduct local searches, specifically focusing on hours, directions, address, and product availability queries.

The survey also refutes the common belief that local search tends to only occur in the last phase of the buying cycle. Instead, like comScore, Ipsos found that local search was used at all phases of the buying cycle, even at home.

Local businesses will also be particularly interested in finding that the majority (56 percent) of “on the go” searches carried local intent. However, this does not mean that more than half of all mobile searches are local.

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