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Shoppers browse and purchase from same device, increasingly a smartphone: report

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April 22, 2016

Mobile browsers turn into buyers

Mobile browsers turn into buyers

While in the past, shoppers frequently browsed on a mobile device and then purchased from another device, this is becoming less common as interest in buying on smartphones grows, according to a new report from Bronto Software.

The report, The Influence of Multi-Device Ownership on Ecommerce, looks at how the proliferation of devices, including smartphones, wearables and tablets, has impacted shopping behavior. One key finding is that U.S. shoppers typically purchase with the same device that they use to shop, whether or not in the same session.

“In our past research, U.S. consumers reported using their smartphones for browsing online and then switching to a larger screen or the physical store to purchase,” said Susan Wall, vice president of marketing at Bronto Software. “However, today’s findings indicate U.S. consumers are willing to purchase from the devices they use to shop – and shopping has increased substantially across every device, including wearables.

“So, it’s now imperative for brands to make the browsing and purchasing experience seamless and frictionless regardless of the device the consumer chooses,” she said.

The report is based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults.

Shopping on wearables
The report found that adults own an average of 2.9 devices and use an average of 1.9 devices for shopping and 1.8 for purchasing.

Approximately half of smartphone and tablet owners use those devices for shopping, with slightly fewer using them to purchase.

One-third of wearable users say they shop and purchase from their devices.

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Desktops and laptops still rule online purchasing, with 63 percent having make a purchase on their laptop in the past year and 49 percent having purchased from a desktop.

In-store shopping
Close to 80 percent of wearables owners say they are shopping more from their device in the past year, more than 60 percent of smartphone owners are shopping more and just under 60 percent of tablet owners are shopping more.

In contrast, 30 percent are shopping less frequently in stores. However, 29 percent are shopping more frequently in physical stores.

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Bronto attributes the changes in both directions to demographics, with 43 percent of those shopping more frequently in stores in the 24–34 age group. Those with a household income under $75,000 are also shopping in stores more frequently.

“For merchants hoping to attract these consumers to their ecommerce site, consider promoting in-store text-to-join for online-only deals and provide an e-receipt option at checkout,” Ms. Wall said.

At the other end of the spectrum, the youngest age group – consumers between 18 and 24 years old – and those with the highest household income are shopping less frequently in stores.

“For omnichannel retailers hoping to draw these online-first shoppers back into the physical store, consider free in-store pickup and returns and promoting in-store-only deals on the ecommerce site,” Ms. Wall said.

“The emergence of the online-first shoppers balanced by those with a preference for the physical store provide some interesting challenges for today’s ecommerce marketer,” she said.

“Retailers can use this data about device and channel preference to segment their messaging and provide a truly relevant, personalized shopping experience.”

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