The majority of online purchases still made via desktop
This holiday season, consumers are consulting mobile devices for help checking off items on their shopping lists more than ever before. Thanks in part to the growth of tablet device ownership among US households, consumers are using mobile devices for product research, online shopping and to help make decisions while in brick-and-mortar stores. According to a Google holiday shopping study conducted by Ipsos OTX, 77% of tablet owners plan to use them this holiday season for shopping.
The Google study indicates that tablet owners have a higher likelihood of using the devices for online shopping than smartphone owners. When it comes to using mobile devices for in-store shopping though, roughly half of both smartphone and tablet users said they are very or extremely likely to use their devices—perhaps surprising given the typical tablet’s inability to fit into most people’s pockets.
Another holiday shopping study, from Prosper Mobile Insights, indicates that about 60% of smartphone and tablet users plan to use their devices for holiday shopping this season. Prosper Mobile Insights divides shopping activities differently than Google. However, the research indicates that most of the respondents who do plan to use their device for holiday shopping will use it during the planning and research phase. About 40% of those respondents will use mobile devices while out shopping, including while in a physical store.
Prosper Mobile Insights also shows that certain product categories drive more tablet and smartphone usage than others. Respondents told the research firm they would purchase books, CDs and DVDs, video games, clothing and electronics via their smartphone or tablet devices this year at rates of 50% or higher.
Todd Pollak, retail industry director for Google, told eMarketer in an interview that Google has seen a direct correlation between mobile shopping activity and ads that consumers might have viewed on TV.
For example, a consumer might see a TV commercial for a discounted item and subsequently search for that deal via tablet, which are becoming consumers’ go-to device when it comes to product research and shopping online, Pollak said. Smartphones are increasingly becoming on-the-go personal shopping assistants, he noted.
In terms of mobile commerce, Pollack said there’s still room for growth, especially when it comes to mobile-optimized websites.
“The big barrier to people using smartphones for commerce is that the browser experience on the phone is still difficult,” Pollak said. “With mobile-optimized sites, conversion values, engagement and page views go way up. Yet only a small percentage of Fortune 100 retailers have implemented them.”
eMarketer estimates that 26.8 million US mobile users will have made a purchase via their feature or smartphone by the end of this year, rising to 37.5 million in 2012.