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More than half of smartphone users still visit the store before they buy: study

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More than half of mobile shoppers still look and feel before they buy, visiting a retail location as part of their research, a new study suggests.

xAd’s UK Mobile Path to Purchase found some 57% of shoppers took that store-based approach, contrasted with the 29% who only use their smartphone to research and to buy.

It analysed survey responses from 1,500 smartphone users in the UK who had used their phone to buy in the previous 30 days in the retail, fast food or auto categories.

It found that making a purchase is no longer a linear decision process. The reliance on mobile for purchase decisions, combined with the ‘always-on’ nature of smartphones, has fundamentally changed how consumers consider purchases — creating multiple touchpoints to reach and influence them in the process. Impatience and faster decision making processes mean that reaching people in the right moment has never been more important.

Theo Theodorou, head of EMEA, xAd comments: “This year’s Mobile Path to Purchase study proves just how crucial a role mobile plays within a consumer’s decision making process. For marketers, understanding how people are using their devices to consider purchases is critical – especially under the lens of location and real-world visitation being the highest indicator of purchase intent – to provide the best, most relevant brand experience at the optimum time. Why is this so important? The study shows that 56% of people who research products opt to make a purchase decision – online or offline – within the hour, and overall over 70% want to be within 5 miles of a physical store, so using location and location intelligence to reach people in those ‘moments that matter’ is key.”

Key findings included:

• 56% of consumers are making purchasing decisions immediately or within the hour after researching on their mobile.

• Proximity is key for purchase completion. 43% of those using mobile for retail purposes expect locations of businesses found on smartphones to be within a local driving distance (1-5 miles), and 20% expect it to be within walking distance (less than 1 mile).

• For retail, 37% of respondents used their smartphones specifically to purchase at home, whilst only 5% did on the move as most opted to visit the store instead.

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