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The number of smartphone shoppers who make purchases on a weekly basis has doubled since 2012

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New research from eDigitalResearch and Portaltech Reply suggests that one third (32%) of smartphone shoppers are using their mobiles to make a purchase on a weekly basis, a number which has almost doubled in the past 12 months, with an additional 25% of smartphone shoppers now purchasing items every month.

eDigitalResearch and Portaltech Reply have been running an annual study into UK consumer’s mobile shopping and browsing for the past four years.

The research also found that smartphone owners are increasingly using their mobile devices in store to help aid purchase decisions when outside the home. 68% said that they have used their mobile to browse, shop or find product information when out shopping, a number which has grown from 36% in the past 12 months alone. Of those, 20% used their mobile just to make a purchase in store.

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, explains: “It is extremely clear from this latest set of results that mobile devices are playing an even bigger part in consumer shopping journeys and are especially starting to have a bigger influence on purchases made whilst out shopping.

Whilst some retailers are sceptical of in store smartphone shoppers, worried that it will lead to too much price comparison and an increase in competitor sales, our research suggests that the majority of in store smartphone users are actually using their devices to browse websites rather than making a purchase. Retailers should therefore be considering in store initiatives, such as free internet access to their customers, to help enhance shopper’s overall experience with their brand and increase engagement levels”.

The study also looked at the opportunities for retailers to connect and engage with mobile customers. Results suggest that 26% of respondents would be ‘very interested’ in receiving personalised offers or recommendations sent to their smartphone direct from retailers as they enter stores. However, when looking at those shoppers who make mobile purchases on a regular basis (weekly and monthly), the figure doubles to (50%), highlighting the need for retailers to get to know their customers and understand them in order to target the right sort of information to the right audiences.

Mark Adams, Partner at Portaltech Reply, comments, “The most important clarification from our research is that mobile is now all pervasive, its use as a browsing and purchasing channel for customers has become mainstream and when we think mobile we also need to think tablet devices since purchasing via a tablet device has higher conversion rates than smartphone. In addition to this we now need to address the usage of in-store browsing via mobile devices since this has become a standard activity. All of this means a mobile strategy is central to a retailers’ multi-channel strategy and we need to incorporate the mobile experience from the ground up when designing and implementing a multi-channel customer experience”.

For the first time, the research also surveyed tablet device owners to better understand their shopping and browsing habits. The results suggest that shopping is one of the most popular tablet related activities; 90% of tablet owners have used their device to browse websites, whilst 79% have made a purchase.

Click here to download a copy of The Role of Mobile in Retail Commerce report

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