Popular Shopping Activities Differ Significantly by Mobile Device

Nielsen-Smartphone-Shopping-Activities-inQ1-Aug2013Recent data from comScore illustrated the types of items that are most commonly purchased by smartphone and tablet owners. New research from Nielsen gets in on the act, revealing the most common activities performed by mobile shoppers. While there are some predictable findings (such as smartphone owners more likely to perform on-the-go activities), it’s useful to see the various ways in which these devices are being leveraged during the shopping journey.

The most common activity (of those identified) among smartphone shoppers in Q1, per the study, was using a store locator (70%). Not far behind, 56% checked prices, while 54% researched items before buying. Around 4 in 10 read reviews of recent/future purchases (39%) and used lists while shopping (37%), while 24% actually purchased an item on their device. 1 in 5 used social media to comment on a purchase, and 9% wrote a review of a purchase.

Nielsen-Tablet-Shopping-Activities-inQ1-Aug2013Tablet shoppers exhibited fairly different inclinations. For example, they were far less likely to use a store locator (49% vs. 70%) or lists while shopping (13% vs. 37%), while being far more likely to purchase items on their devices (38% vs. 24%) and write reviews of a purchase (16% vs. 9%).

The study also looked at where each of these activities was performed, something which received considerable media attention. The highlighted finding was that on tablets, each of the activities was performed at least half of the time at home (most activities upwards of 80% of the time), while smartphone activities tended to be performed at home, with some more likely to be performed outside the house (such as using shopping lists and store locators).

Those results appear fairly predictable, though. Some are challenging the categorization of tablets as “mobile” devices, given that they’re far less likely to be used on-the-go than smartphones. Meanwhile, several pieces of research (such as this and this) have demonstrated that the majority of smartphone usage occurs at home. So it’s not terribly surprising that most purchases made on smartphones occur at home, just as it’s not surprising that smartphone owners are more likely to be using lists while they’re in-store than while they’re at home.

Nevertheless, if nothing else, the results serve as a reminder that “mobile” may not be synonymous with “on-the-go.” Additionally, the extent to which tablet activities are performed at home is quite notable. For example, according to the data, no tablet owners who made purchases on their devices did so in-store. So those looking for showroomers probably shouldn’t bother with tablet owners.