Report: Consumers Turning to Smartphones, Tablets for Specific Retail Activities

mobile walletChicago–All you have to do is walk down any street USA to notice passers by looking down at their cell phones while making their way down the street. The fact that mobile phones are pervasive in our society is without question, what more research is pointing to is how much more important mobile commerce is becoming to retailers.

According to a report produced in partnership with comScore and The Partnering Group and released today at Shop.org’s Annual Summit,  in the month of June alone,  more than half (55%) of all retail related Internet time originated on smartphones and tablet devices combined, compared with just 45% originating from desktop devices. Specifically, smartphone Internet usage in June 2013 totaled 44% of retail Internet minutes, up from 17% in June 2010; and tablet usage accounted for 11% of total minutes on retail sites.

Retail a Favorite Mobile Content Category

During the second quarter of this year, mobile or m-commerce dollars totaled $4.7 billion or 8.6% of total U.S. e-commerce dollars that quarter. Additionally, between m-commerce in the second quarter grew 24% from last year and was ahead of the 16% increase in e-commerce as a whole.

“Since U.S. consumers now spend more than half of their time on retailers’ websites using their smartphones and tablets, mobile can’t be viewed simply as an ancillary device or action,  it now epitomizes how consumers think and act when they interact with retailers,” said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. “Retailers have to continue to invest to make sure they get their mobile offerings right, or will increasingly risk alienating customers and leaving significant money on the table.”

Retail, in fact, is one of the fastest-growing of consumers’ favorite mobile content categories. From June 2012 to June 2013, retail grew 49% as a content category on smartphones, only behind beauty and fashion, home and lifestyle, and instant messaging services.

In Store Shoppers Check Retailers’ Apps

The report found that online consumers use their smartphone and tablet devices for many shopping-related activities. As for in-store mobile activities, nearly six in 10 (57%) of smartphone users in June visited the same company’s site or app while in the store, compared to 43% who consulted another company’s site or app. The top reason consumers consulted the retailer’s or another company’s website or app was to view price differences.

“Retailers have an immediate opportunity to proactively encourage shoppers to use in-store Wi-Fi and engage with the retailer’s mobile-enabled websites and apps,” said Peter Leech, managing director of The Partnering Group. “It’s a big opportunity to capture those eyeballs before they seek an alternate source of product detail and pricing information on another retailer’s mobile offering.”

Among those smartphone users who went to the same retailer’s site, 59% wanted to see if there was an online discount available.  Similarly, among those who checked a different retailer’s site, 92% wanted to see if they could get a better deal on price. Smartphone owners also used their devices while in the store to take a picture of a product (23%), text or call family or friends about a product (17%), and send a picture of a product to family and friends (17%).

Apparel, Accessories Top Sellers Via Phones

mobile shopping“Mobile is having a profound effect on how people engage with the retail experience today,” said Lynée Alves, director of retail solutions at comScore. “Not only are consumers using their mobile devices to engage more with retail sites and apps, they are also beginning to transact on these devices in a meaningful way. The m-commerce revolution is building momentum, and retailers must adapt to this new landscape if they are to succeed in this emerging channel.”

Additional highlights from the report that signal continued evolution in the marketplace:

●Apparel and accessories (37%) and event tickets (25%) were among the top products that smartphone shoppers bought with their device during Q2 2013.

●One-third (35%) of smartphone owners in the second quarter this year used their device to locate a store, one-quarter (24%) used it to find coupons and deals, and 19% used it to look up product availability.

●Most consumers (79%) in the second quarter made an online purchase from a desktop, compared to 34% from tablets and 21% from smartphones.

●The average spend in Q2 2013 was higher on smartphones compared to tablets: shoppers spent an average of $97 on smartphones, compared to $76 on tablets.

●Nearly two-thirds of smartphone owners in second quarter used a browser to research product features (64%), and more than half used a browser to find a store location (59%) and to find coupons/deals (53%). Seven in 10 (72%) smartphone owners report using only apps to make shopping lists, as well as 46% who do so to view daily deals.

About the report

The 2013 Social & Mobile Commerce Report covers consumer engagement via leading social networks, and examines consumer use of smartphones and tablet devices for shopping activities and purchases.  This report draws from multiple comScore products, including comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform, comScore MobiLens, comScore TabLens, and the comScore Survey Panel.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world’s leading community for digital retail, offering thought leadership through original research and gold standard events. www.shop.org

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Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com