Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important media resources for purchase decisions, according to the latest “Mobile Path to Purchase” study [download page] from xAd and Telmetrics. The research examined 2,000 US smartphone and tablet users who had used their device to make a purchase decision in at least one of 4 key categories (telecom, restaurant, auto, entertainment) during the previous 30 days. Some 29% named their smartphone the most important media platform when searching for information during the purchase process, up from 23% the prior year. Another 13% named their tablet their most important media source, such that smartphones and tablets combined rivaled laptops or desktops (43%) as respondents’ most important media sources when searching for information about purchases.
In fact, many respondents indicated that they used their mobile device exclusively to make a purchase decision, with this behavior most pronounced for restaurant decisions.
For the most part, though, mobile devices are being used at the start of the research process, with fewer using them at the end. That’s because more than half of all purchases were made in-store, though that (predictably) varied significantly by category, with a majority of entertainment purchases occurring online (via PC or mobile), while most restaurant purchases were at a location.
As other research has found, the study indicated that a high proportion of those who used mobile for research ended up making a purchase, and that many were looking to quickly make a purchase when they conducted their most recent search.
Interestingly, only 1 in 4 or fewer respondents knew exactly what they were looking for when first accessing information on their mobile device. The most important features when looking up information related to a purchase varied by category, but tended to center around good online reviews (for auto and entertainment), easy to find contact info (for telecom) and coupons/offers (for restaurants).
About the Data: xAd, and long-time partner Telmetrics, have collaborated with Nielsen to execute a third year of their first-to-market mobile behavior study. The Mobile Path to Purchase research tracks consumers from initial purchase intent to conversion, while exploring ad effectiveness across key industries.
The study contains online survey data from over 2,000 US tablet and smartphone users, as well
as actual observed behaviors from Nielsen’s Smartphone Analytics Panel of 6,000 iOS and Android users ”“ each group reporting that they had used their device to make a purchase decision in at least one of four key industries in the past 30 days.