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Are smartphones creating the ‘ubiquitous shopper’?

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4th Jun 2013
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At home, on the move – the new class of ubiquitous shoppers are using their mobile to purchase anywhere, anytime, according to new research.

Savvy Marketing’s latest bi-monthly survey of 1,000 shoppers showed that 57% of consumers have bought products or services using their smartphones with the majority purchasing clothing or footwear (24%), music/video s (23%) and books (22%).

But whilst you might be right in thinking that mobile shoppers typically purchase on the go, the research showed that smartphone browsing happens most at home (85%).

Additionally, 60% of respondents said that they’d used the internet on their phone while watching TV, confirming the continuing rise of so-called ‘second-screening’.

Outside of the home, the study showed that shoppers are most likely to be online when commuting (51%), at a bar/pub (45%) and at work (42%). Interestingly for retailers, a third of shoppers also admitted to using their mobile device to browse products and services when shopping in a physical store – signifying the growth of the ‘showrooming’ trend.

Alastair Lockhart, head of insight at Savvy Marketing, said: “In the past, retailers and brand owners have had to wait until people were in ‘shopper mode’ – either in a store or sat at their computer, before they could sell to them.

“However, the proliferation of smartphones now means that shoppers are constantly connected and can literally be inspired to buy a product at any time or any place. This is a trend we call ubiquitous shopping.”

So what exactly are consumers using their devices for? The findings showed that the majority of those surveyed (45%) use their smartphone to look for product information, followed by to check the location of a store (34%) to look up prices (33%) and to find discount vouchers (25%).

Lockhart added: “This trend is forcing retailers, brands and marketers to change the way they think about shopping and advertising.  With shoppers now able to buy products from their favourite retailers at pretty much at any time, traditional advertising should no longer only be about building awareness and love of brands, it should be actively encouraging a purchase. 

“Increasingly the path to purchase is not about a linear shopping experience that involves someone walking around a supermarket, the path to purchase is simply the way that people live their lives – inspiration can hit at any time and they should be able to buy at any time.”

However, whilst the Savvy Marketing research showed shoppers are increasingly using their mobile to shop, they’re not necessarily getting the best experience when doing so. EpiServer’s latest study into mobile commerce revealed that half of mobile shoppers are frustrated by a poor experience caused by slow site speeds (49%), unresponsive sites (48%) and difficulty logging in (35%).

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