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Mobile search has gotten a lot of attention this year as it has overtaken desktop search in many metrics, but a new report from mobile loyalty company SessionM shows how ubiquitous the use of mobile devices to aid in the shopping experience has become.

SessionM surveyed 12,000 randomly selected US smartphone users on their mobile shopping behaviors and the findings highlight just how large a role mobile devices play in the shopping process.

The company said 85 percent of respondents reported their m-commerce buying was steady or had increased compared to a year ago while approximately 15 percent told the company mobile buying had increased “significantly.

Personal data security and/or poor user experiences (e.g., too small images or text) were cited as barriers preventing mobile e-commerce from more growth.

According to the findings, more than 90 percent of respondents had made a retail purchase within the past 90 days before the study. The majority (73 percent) of those purchases were made in traditional, brick-and-mortar stores, and approximately 53 percent said they found the in-store experience superior to online/mobile shopping.

However, the study also found mobile search plays a vital role in the in-store shopping process. The overwhelming majority of respondents (90 percent) said they use their smartphones in stores while shopping. The top activities on smartphones while in-stores breaks down as follows:

  1. Price comparisons — 54 percent
  2. Looking up product information — 48 percent
  3. Checking reviews online — 42 percent

SessionM also had recommendations for valuable marketing opportunities for retailers from the data:

  • Opportunity surrounding in-store push notifications about deals/offers (57 percent were more likely to shop at a store if available)
  • Loyalty programs (76 percent would be more likely to shop at a store if available)

The data confirms what several other studies have found in the past. Shoppers are using their smartphones in stores to help them make informed purchases, but many retailers are failing to take advantage of any of the opportunities this presents.

Best-Android-phones-for-Christmas-2013Now that the holiday season is over, several companies including Target and Amazon are releasing statistics related to 2014’s holiday shopping. While there are several interesting facts to be found in the reports, Target’s release may have the most striking bit of information.

Target claims the majority of traffic to its Target.com website came from mobile devices throughout the holiday season, making it clear that mobile is quickly becoming the primary option for online shopping.

The company says, “Mobile traffic made up 60 percent of Target.com traffic November through December.” The press release also highlighted other mobile milestones for the company:

  • Black Friday weekend purchases made via mobile phones were 2 times higher than 2013
  • Cartwheel, Target’s digital coupon app, added 2 million new users over the holiday period and surpassed $1 billion in promotional sales since it launched
  • Target.com store-pickup orders hit a new record high on Thanksgiving Day
  • Store maps in Target’s new iPhone app were accessed more than 400 thousand times

Long-time mobile leader Amazon reported similar findings to Target, saying, “Nearly 60 percent of Amazon.com customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday. Mobile shopping accelerated as customers got later into the shopping season.”

Amazon also mentioned that Cyber Monday was the biggest mobile shopping day of the season, but Black Friday “had the most rapid growth in mobile shopping.” The company also reported that total sales of the Amazon smartphone app had doubled last year, which coincides with Amazon mobile entering comScore’s Top 15 US Smartphone apps list.

The latest “audience insights” report for Q2 of this year from NinthDecimal was released this week and the findings about shopping on mobile devices could have a big influence on how marketers think about on-the-go research and conversions.

The report shows that smartphones are quickly becoming the primary way users research retail purchases, which should be of little surprise. However, the findings also show that research on tablets has been significantly declining which may suggest a troubling future for the devices.

Retail Product Research

NinthDecimal says they believe the decline is due to increasing consumer comfort with shopping on smartphones, especially as screen sizes are increasing and NFC services like the newly launched Apple Pay make it easier than ever to shop on a smartphone.

Also unsurprising is the finding that consumers tend to conduct shopping-related research before they leave the home to shop, although in-store usage is also growing. The report also shows that the length of time that consumers spent researching a purchase before buying was directly tied to cost. Products under $50 saw an average of 10 days of research or less. Meanwhile products above $1,000 days got an extensive 45 days of research lead time on average.

Product Research Time

Of particular note to online marketers and businesses may be the data claiming that within the last month approximately 45 percent of consumers reported making a retail purchase after seeing a mobile ad. However nearly three-fourths of respondents said they were more likely to engage with retail-related advertising at home, before they began shopping.

Mobile Ad Response

According to the report, the types of ad content most likely to sway mobile users were (in order): product discounts/sales, reviews, product information, giveaways and store-location information