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64pc of surveyed back-to-school shoppers will use smartphones: study

July 28, 2011

Despite economic headwinds, 64 percent of surveyed smartphone owners will use their smartphones to make back-to-school purchases this fall, per a study by Deloitte.

Additionally, nine out of ten back-to-school shoppers are expected to spend equal or more than they did last year. Deloitte also  found that mobile shoppers will use their devices for price information and to download discounts and coupons.

“We’ve seen mobile increases in the past, but this is a particularly high percentage of mobile shoppers this year,” said Jackie Fernandez, partner in retail and distribution practice at Deloitte, New York.

“The proliferation of smartphone technology has increased over the past few years to do so many other things besides just shop,” she said.

Deal-seeking on mobile
In addition to consumers just using their smartphones while shopping, the Deloitte study found that users are primarily using them to comparison shop.

Sixty-one percent of consumers will use smartphones to get price information.

Additionally, 43 percent of consumers are expected to download discounts, coupons or sale information on their smartphones.

“The number one response in survey was that people are using their mobile devices to get pricing and discounts,” Ms. Fernandez said.

“Therefore, it’s clear that people are still going to stores, but there is still a disconnect with users getting to the point-of-sale with their smartphones,” she said.

This need of smartphones and mobile devices for prices ties into bigger consumer issues in the study.

For example, 65 percent of consumers surveyed said low prices are the most important retailer factor when back-to-school shopping.

Additionally, 55 percent of shoppers said they will only buy products their family needs this season. Twenty-six percent say they will reuse items from last year instead of shopping.

Meeting consumer needs
Based on this study, Ms. Fernandez said that we can expect to see further use and engagement in the future, particularly around the holiday season.

“From our expectations about back-to-school shopping this year, I think it’s fair to see we will continue to see an increase in mobile shopping  in the future, and it will be interesting to see how retailers try to target consumers in the next few months,” Ms. Fernandez said.

Ms. Fernandez also said that mobile has come to be expected with consumers when shopping.

“This study should be eye-opening for retailers because it’s clear that consumers are using their smartphones while shopping, and if retailers aren’t on board with them they’re losing valuable consumers, both online and in-store,” Ms. Fernandez said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily

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