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Nearly half of UK consumers use mobile as their main decision making tool when buying

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As many as 46% of UK consumers now use mobile devices as their primary tool for purchase decision making, while one in four use mobile devices as their exclusive shopping research tool.

So finds the second annual UK Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study conducted by Nielsen of more than 2000 UK smartphone and tablet users focused on the Retail, Insurance and Telecom categories for xAd, a global location ad platform, and Telmetrics, a call measurement technology provider.

Consumers are spending more time on mobile devices than ever, both in the home and out. In fact, 60% of those surveyed reported being at home the last time they accessed their smartphones, despite having a computer nearby. As consumers turn to mobile to meet their varying research needs, they are becoming more comfortable with these devices as a primary decision-making tool. Satisfaction with the information available on smartphones in particular has increased 18% since 2013.

“As the mobile user experience continues to improve, consumers are turning to the convenience of their mobile devices more frequently, whether they’re at home or on the go,” says Monica Ho, SVP of marketing at xAd. “Mobile users turn to their devices at multiple points while considering a purchase and often rely on it as their exclusive source for information. This creates a significant opportunity for brands to reach consumers, drive in-store foot traffic and ultimately influence their purchases.”

With more than 75% of mobile shoppers making a purchase or planning to do so in the near future, mobile is clearly an important part of the purchase cycle. However, the mobile impact is not limited to on-device activity. Of those surveyed, 31% reported visiting a physical store during their search. In addition to general research, mobile devices are frequently being used to search for store locations and business contact info.

Overall, 37% made purchases offline, with 20% of Telecom and Insurance shoppers completing purchases via phone. Retail was the most popular category for mobile purchases, with 35% of survey respondents making purchases via their mobile devices.

“Our study confirms that mobile is a powerful part of today’s consumer purchase process and underlines the growing opportunity for advertisers to reach this ready to buy audience,” says Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics. “Advertisers that capture mobile metrics can improve their understanding of how shoppers interact with mobile devices throughout the buying cycle and empower their ad programmes to reach consumers when they are most open to influence.”

Most mobile activity happens at the beginning of the consumer’s purchase process (56%). When first turning to their mobile devices, less than 20% of respondents reported to know exactly what they were looking for, making 80% completely open to influence. Consumers are also expecting purchase gratification more quickly than they have in the past. Nearly 50% reported wanting to make their purchase within a day (up 20% since 2013), and 30% are looking to make a purchase within the hour (up 52% since 2013).

Price continues to be the biggest purchase driver. Three out of four consumers are using their mobile devices for price comparison and 39% made a purchase because the product/service was the right price. Store proximity and easy access to contact info are also important factors. Over 50% of respondents expect to find a location within eight kilometres of their current location, underscoring the importance of accurate location data, while up to 40% of shoppers made phone calls to the businesses they searched.

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