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Tablet owners’ local searches often lead to a purchase: study

March 2, 2012

Tablet owners frequently search for local businesses

Tablet owners are the most active local searchers with 64 percent using their devices at least weekly for local searches and 86 percent making a purchase from their most recent tablet-based local search, according to a new report from Localeze and 15miles.

As it becomes easier for consumers to access and share meaningful local business information thanks to the growth in mobile, social networks and daily deals, this is transforming the way consumers perform local searches. As a result, local merchants and other businesses need to get their listings correct and capitalize on the ability to reach consumers at the right time in the platform they are in. 

“There has been a lot of talk about the convergence of social local mobile or SoLoMo over the past few years, but the data has not been there to truly support it,” said Dave Dague, vice president of marketing for Localeze, Vienna, VA.

“This year’s study shows that consumers are rapidly adopting new devices and new methods to access local business information, particularly tablets,” he said.

“As a result, it is imperative for marketers to employ a strategic multichannel approach while ensuring the sanctity of their business listings to avoid an identity management crisis.”

Shaping buying behavior
The findings show that tablets are critical to all stages of the local business search and purchase cycle and lead to a higher likelihood of making a purchase.

Additionally, 61 percent of smartphone users surveyed reported conducting local searches from a device. These users also indicated that the No. 1 reaseon for using a mobile device in a local business search is the on-the-go necessity for fast information.

Applications are also popular for searching, with 49 percent of mobile and tablet owners saying they use apps for local business searches.

“The explosion of smartphones and tablets is really shaping the buying behavior in local search,” Mr. Dague said. “The research also shows that consumers are using their smartphones to access local business information at the beginning of the buying cycle rather than at the end.”

The survey found that consumers are becoming savvier about accessing local business information via social networks and daily deal providers.

Social network local business search usage has increased 67 percent since 2010, and 35 percent of individuals that primarily use social networking sites for local search do so on a daily basis, according to the report.

Trust in local
Consumers also trust local searches more than paid searches, with 61 percent of online searchers considering local search results to be more relevant and 58 percent considering local search results to be more trustworthy.

The Localez and 15miles Local Search Usage Study was conducted by comScore in December 2011, based on a combination of data from 4,000 online surveys and observed behaviors of 1 million consumers who agreed to have their online searches tracked anonymously.

“As with any fast growing technology, particularly mobile, consumer behavior and demand is ahead of the market,” Mr. Dague said.

“Location-based services, daily deal sites and mobile social network applications will continue to refine their offerings and advertising models, but the data illustrates that consumers still rely on organic local search results for relevancy and trustworthiness,” he said.

“It is imperative for businesses to maintain a consistent identity across all platforms as these services will continue to share information and seek the most trusted sources for reliability.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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