Consumers Continue to Use Their Smartphones In-Store

May 2, 2023

Concerns about the state of the economy and its impact on consumers can be seen in the reasons why they sign up to receive brand communications on mobile. Survey results from Airship show that more consumers this year than last say they would subscribe to such communications for discounts, sales and promotions, while there’s been no gain in subscription behavior for the purposes of transaction updates.

Airship asked 11,000 adults across 10 countries what motivates them to opt in to receive brand communications on their smartphones. The leading reason given was to earn immediate discounts or loyalty rewards points, with 42% reporting this, up from 35% last year. This makes sense as consumers have been searching for discounts amid an inflationary environment.

[It should be noted that this year’s survey was fielded in 10 markets, whereas last year’s was in 7, which could also be a contributor to the differences in results.]

Nonetheless, there’s also been an increase in the portion of respondents who would opt in for broad sales alerts and discounts (25%, up from 20%), for personalized offers based on browsing behavior or past purchases (21%, up from 14%), and for special offers triggered by their location (20%, up from 13%).

By contrast, there’s been essentially no change in the likelihood of opting in to receive order confirmation/receipts (25%) or shipping/delivery or curbside pickup alerts (24%, down from 25%).

Separately, 78% of respondents report using retailers’ mobile apps either more than (33%) or to the same level (45%) as last year.

Consumers are also using smartphones when in-store to a greater extent than they were last year. Some 81% report using loyalty cards or coupons stored on their phone, up from 73% last year, while 78% use their smartphones to compare prices, up from 71%. The biggest relative increase has been for use of the retailer’s app when in-store (74%, up from 65%). Notably, a rising portion are scanning QR codes or tapping NFC tags for info or incentives, with almost two-thirds (64%) doing this, up from 57% last year. Separate research has likewise found that the use of QR codes for shopping assistance has been on the rise.

Compared to the global average, respondents in the US are less likely to pay contactlessly using their smartphone when in-store (62% versus 69%), but more likely to use their device to text/SMS to join a brand’s loyalty program (67% vs. 62%).

Check out more of the survey results here.

About the Data: The 2023 results are based on a February survey of 11,000 adults (18+) in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brazil.


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