Holiday Smartphone Shoppers Favored Store For Purchases

February 15, 2012

google-smartphone-holiday-shopping.jpgSmartphone owners who used their device to holiday shop in 2011 were more likely to make a purchase in a store than online, according to a Google survey conducted in January 2012 and released in February. 46% researched on their smartphone and then went to the store to make their purchase, compared to 41% who researched on their device and then purchased on their smartphone, and 37% who researched on their device and then purchased online on a computer.

19% researched on their smartphone, visited a store to check out products, and then purchased online on their computer, nearly matched by the proportion who took the same purchase path but then purchased on their smartphone (18%). 8% visited the store first before making the purchase on their smartphone.

Overall, three-quarters of the smartphone shoppers used their device in a store during the holiday season to help them shop.

Online Tops for Research, but In-Store Rules for Purchase

Online research was a key part of the holiday shopping process, with 76% of of holiday shoppers saying they used the internet as a source of information. Store circulars/flyers (36%), in-store displays (34%), friends, relatives, colleagues (34%), and TV (29%) trailed distantly, as did other print media such as newspapers (21%), catalogs (20%), and magazines (13%).

Even so, mobile and desktop shoppers were more likely to make a purchase at a store (89%) than on their PC (75%), smartphone (11%), or tablet (6%).

Mobiles Become Entrenched in Shopping Process

Data from Google’s “2012 Post-Holiday Recap” indicates that among smartphone owners who used their devices the previous year to shop, 80% of smartphone shoppers used them more frequently in 2011, and 35% spent more money on them during the 2011 season. In fact, holiday shoppers rated their mobile devices as being as helpful as PCs: 57% of smartphone shoppers said their device was extremely helpful, compared to 59% of PC shoppers who felt that way.

One-quarter of holiday shoppers used more than one device to shop: of those, 42% used more than one device at the same time, while 68% started on one device and continued on another.

Computers Best for Price Comparisons, Discounts

google-holiday-shopping-device-activities.jpgConsumers were highly engaged in numerous shopping activities across all devices. However, among those who shopped online via a device, PC shoppers (79%) were more likely than tablet (63%) and smartphone (61%) shoppers to use their device to compare prices. They were also far more likely to use their device than tablet and smartphone shoppers to look for discounts and promotions (73% vs. 49% and 46%, respectively).

According to January 2012 survey results from Pew, when asked what happened on the most recent occasion they used their mobile phone to look up the price online of a product they found in a store, only 35% of respondents said they purchased the product at that store. 37% said they decided to not purchase the product at all, while 19% purchased the product online and 8% purchased the product at another store.

Other Findings:

  • 55% of consumers expected free shipping during the holiday season, while 51% of shoppers took advantage of free shipping deals, and more than half of transactions involved the promotion. According to comScore data released in February 2012, 52% of all e-commerce transactions in Q4 2011 included free shipping, representing an all-time high, up 6% from the previous high of 49% in Q4 2010.
  • 39% of holiday shoppers shopped after Christmas, and 32% finished their holiday shopping post-Christmas. The top 2 reasons for shopping post-holiday were to make additional purchases for themselves, and to wait for post-holiday sales.

About the Data: Two online surveys were conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Google. The post-holiday shopping study involved a sample of 615 holiday shoppers in the US. In order to qualify, respondents must have made a purchase in one of 13 retail categories during the holiday season. The second survey of mobile and desktop consumers involved interviews of a total of 615 holiday shoppers. Respondents were required to have made a purchase within a variety of product and service categories during the holiday season. Both surveys were conducted in January 2012.

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