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Convenience of mobile shopping drives significant growth

June 17, 2011

Mobile shopping leaps forward

NEW YORK – The growth in mobile shopping is a wake-up call to marketers, especially the role mobile will play in the coming holiday season.

During the “The Consumer Perspective on Mobile Shopping & Commerce,” session, findings from a recent InMobi study into mobile shopping were presented. The results show that 67 percent of mobile consumers used a mobile device to make a purchase in February and March.

“It is really shocking how fast consumers are moving,” said Anne Frisbie, vice president and managing director, North America, of InMobi, San Mateo, CA. “This is a pretty big wakeup call for Q3 and Q4 for the major holidays out there for marketers.”

Approximately half of the mobile shopping during this period were driven by digital goods-only purchases. However, one-third of US consumers are buying items via mobile devices that are not digital goods.

This means an estimated 59 million consumers in the U.S. are using mobile phones to purchase. If you consider digital goods, this jumps to 122 million consumers.

Leap year
“This report brought some of the most surprising results that I’ve ever seen,” Ms. Frisbie said. “The results show how much consumers have leaped frogged us in the industry in the last six months.”

And, the growth is continuing.

When asked about their future purchasing plans, 30 percent of respondents said they plan to buy consumer electronics via mobile in the next 30 days, 23 percent plan to buy apparel via mobile and 36 percent plan to make a digital goods purchase via mobile.
Mobile’s convenience is an important reason why consumers are choosing to shop via mobile.

“The key driver is that they are really looking for convenience and ease of use,” Ms. Frisbie said. 

InMobi fielded the research in February and March. It received 2,368 responses in the U.S. across all devices. The focus was predominantly on mobile phones.

The research also showed that a broader cross-section of consumers are shopping via mobile, with the big drop off in use now taking place for consumers 65 years old and above. In the past, this drop off happened for consumers over 45 years old.

When it comes to preferred methods to shop, the research showed there is a big preference to use mobile for shopping over laptops across all categories.

Even non-smartphone users are shopping via mobile. Mobile may, in fact, be especially relevant to these users because they may not have access to laptops.

The research reflects the need for marketers to have an all-device strategy, per Ms. Frisbie.

Consumers rate their experiences shopping via mobile fairly well, with 26 percent saying their mobile shopping experience was excellent.

However, some of this could be driven by how much these consumers are simply enjoying using their smartphones, per Ms. Frisbie. InMobi’s research shows that in the categories where consumers have been purchasing via mobile for a longer period of time the satisfaction levels are lower.

Good times
“We have to work to continue to have people have good experiences,” Ms. Frisbie said.

The categories reviewed in the research include apparel, consumer electronics, entertainment and digital goods.

The satisfaction levels are also higher for the Android and iOS platforms.

There are differences by category in terms of what consumers want from a mobile shopping experience. Price comparison is crucial in apparel while local store search is important for consumer electronics.

The research also showed that advertisers were more aggressive via mobile for Memorial Day as they tried to take advantage of a jump in consumer usage during this time.

“The big lesson is that some clients tried to launch Friday,” Ms. Frisbie said. “I really recommend that you try to get clients to execute seven to 10 days prior to their sale so they can optimize what they’re doing and scale it during the key consumer surge.”

Final Take
Anne Frisbie, vice president and managing director, NA, InMobi

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