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Study reveals UK mobile consumers show strong purchase intent but less immediacy than US searchers

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A new study has found that UK mobile searchers are committed to the research process leading to a longer purchase decision cycle than those in the US. It also revealed UK mobile users’ emphasis on local relevancy and high purchase intent, with more than half (56 percent) reporting to have ultimately made a purchase.

xAd, a leading mobile-location based advertising network, and Telmetrics, the top mobile call measurement provider, today announced the results of the first UK Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study, conducted by Nielsen. The online survey of 1,500 UK smartphone and tablet users measured the activities consumers reported doing via mobile devices. Specific market findings for the Travel, Restaurant and Automotive categories will follow at a later date.

In the UK price comparisons and reviews are the top two mobile research activities as mobile searchers generally take time to conduct thorough research before making a purchase. UK mobile searchers demonstrate strong purchase intent, however less overall immediacy than US searchers. Forty (40) percent of UK mobile searchers report intending to make a purchase within the day and an additional 35 percent take up to a month before making a purchase decision. Smartphone users demonstrate more immediate needs than tablets searchers with 22 percent looking to make a purchase within an hour of their search.

“As UK marketers outspend their global peers trying to reach mobile consumers, it is crucial to understand the UK mobile searcher. This study reveals critical insights about mobile purchase behaviours, including preferred research tools, activities and mobile purchase influences,” said Bill Dinan, president, Telmetrics. “While two-thirds of mobile searchers don’t have a specific brand in mind, they do cite the importance of local relevancy. Advertisers that include local cues such as location info and phone numbers in their ads can positively influence mobile purchase decisions.”

Location is an important influencer for mobile search in the UK as nearly 50 percent of both smartphone and tablet searchers expect search locations to be within walking or driving distance. In fact, location lookups are the top smartphone research activity for Restaurant and Auto searches. Location is more important to smartphone users as 58 percent are searching on the go, including nearly 15 percent searching outside and nearly 10 percent searching from public transport. Of smartphone users,

• up to 77 percent look for a business’ location info,

• up to 67 percent look up directions to the business and

• up to 47 percent look for a business’ phone number.

Only 34 percent of mobile searchers know exactly what they are searching for, providing advertisers considerable opportunity to influence searchers’ ultimate purchase decisions. In the UK, two-thirds of users notice mobile ads with 20 percent resulting in a click. The top reason driving mobile ad clicks is local relevance – with nearly a third of users preferring ads that are geographically relevant. Additional reasons for clicking on ads are that the ad features a known brand, a coupon or promotional offer. Similarly, the ads that are most likely to motivate customers to make a purchase or visit a location are smartphone ads targeted to the user’s search or tablet ads featuring a coupon.

“Successful mobile advertising campaigns must be tailored to distinct device and category nuances as a ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t produce the desired results,” said Monica Ho, vice president of marketing, xAd, Inc. “Insights from the Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study can improve UK mobile advertisers’ ad relevancy and performance and ensure mobile ads are hitting the right audience with the right message.”

Additional findings highlights:

• 8 out of 10 smartphone and tablet searchers visit search engines in the research process.

• Among smartphone owners, map/navigational apps/sites are most popular for Restaurant and Automotive users (45 percent and 32 percent, respectively), while brand websites are most popular for Travel users (49 percent).

• For tablet users, brand apps/sites are the most popular for the Travel and Automotive categories (47 and 34 percent, respectively) while map/navigational apps/sites are most popular for Restaurants (32 percent).

• Online/PC use is still an important research tool for mobile searchers and is used to supplement research by 37 percent of Restaurant searchers, 62 percent of Travel searchers and 54 percent of Automotive searchers.

• On tablets, 81 percent of searchers report using the device at home, compared to 42 percent of smartphone users conducting searches at home.

Comparisons to the 2012 xAd-Telmetrics US Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study:

• Price comparisons and reviews are both more popular in the UK than in the US – looking for coupons or deals is less popular in the UK

• UK mobile searchers are more likely to use their mobile devices at home than US mobile searchers (62 percent vs 52 percent).

• More UK mobile searchers (12 percent) expect business locations to be within walking distance than in the US (8 percent).

• 9 percent of UK mobile searchers vs. 17 percent of US mobile searchers say they are looking to make a purchase decision immediately.

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