Smartphone Owners Prefer Online Shopping; More Apt to Buy In-Store

May 10, 2012

wavecollapse-smartphone-owners-shopping-behavior-may2012.jpgSmartphone owners are more likely to say they enjoy shopping on an online website than in a physical store (69% vs. 64%), but it turns out that they are far more likely to window shop online rather than offline, according to Wave Collapse survey results released in May 2012. Examining respondents’ behaviors across different purchase platforms, the report finds that when in a physical store, 74% mostly purchase, rather than mostly browse (26%). The opposite is true for online channels, such as online websites (71% vs. 29%), mobile websites (76% vs. 24%), and mobile applications (71% vs. 29%), where a clear majority said they mostly browse rather than mostly purchase.

In fact, respondents were more likely to have purchased something from a physical store (87%) in the past week than any other channel, including an online website (60%). They were also more likely to have bought multiple times from physical stores than from online channels.

Retailers should be prepared to capitalize on consumers’ cross-channel behavior, says hybris, in a May 2012 study. According to that study, more than 4 in 5 US consumers are more likely to become loyal customers of retailers that provide an integrated experience across channels.

In-Store App Users More Frequent Buyers

Recent data has shown that in-store research on mobile devices can lead many potential buyers to abandon the store and buy online instead. However, results from Wave Collapse’s “Perspectives on the Mobile Shopper” indicate that smartphone owners who use applications while in-store are more frequent buyers than those who do not, and that this pattern extends to in-store purchases, too. For example, while in-store application users were more likely to report having purchased something from a mobile website (47% vs. 13%) in the past week, they were also more likely to have bought something from a physical store (93% vs. 84%).

Clothing Top Impulse Buy on Mobile

Looking at the last item category bought by respondents on their mobile device, the survey finds that hotel (24%) was the most common, followed by clothing (23%), airline tickets (22%), and food/take-out (also at 22%).

According to a WorldPay study released in April 2012, clothes (53%), books (46%), and DVDs and video games (42%) are the top 3 mobile purchases among American shoppers.

Meanwhile, the Wave Collapse survey also looked at consumers’ last mobile purchases to see whether they were planned or impulse buys. Clothing and food/take-out were the categories with the highest share of impulse buyers (both at 46%), followed by beauty/make-up, pet items, and shoes (all at 45%).

Other Findings:

  • In-store app users are more likely than non-users to find shopping on their device and computer enjoyable, and more likely to purchase online. There is no demographic difference between the two groups.
  • 58% of those who have not purchased on mobile have looked at products on a device. The purchases they see themselves as least likely to make are financial products, insurance, and groceries. They have less resistance to other items such as jewelry, clothing, and pet items.
  • 53% of respondents follow a brand on a social network.
  • According to the hybris survey results, 39% of consumers say they make more purchases online than in-store.
  • 19% of respondents said they browse their mobile device while in-store, mostly to compare prices (66%).
  • The most important features for an integrated multichannel retail experience are in-store pickup options for online purchases (45%), and in-store returns for online purchases (28%).
  • The most important factors for following through with an online purchase are easy navigation (59%), a simple checkout process (57%), and presence of product images (42%).
  • The most commonly-cited factors that might deter an online purchase are shipping costs (47%), out of stock items (28%) and lack of product images (23%).

About the Data: The Wave Collapse data is based on an online survey of 1,000 respondents, all of whom own an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry. The hybris data is based on a survey of more than 500 consumers in the US across varied income levels and ages, with an equal distribution of genders.

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