For US smartphone owners who report using their devices while shopping in-store (“smartphone shoppers”), the degree to which they engage in various activities differs by the type of store they are in, says Nielsen in May 2012 survey results. For example, 57% have scanned a QR code for product details while in an electronics store, compared to 36% who have done so in a department store, the next most-popular location for this activity. Other stores where smartphone shoppers have scanned QR codes are mass merchandisers (31%), grocery stores (26%), office supply stores (20%), clothing stores (16%), and convenience stores (8%). Just 5% have done so in a furniture store, and only 2% in a dollar store.
Electronics Most Popular for Reading Reviews, Too
The Nielsen survey results also indicate that electronics stores are popular venues for reading reviews. In fact, 73% of smartphone shoppers say they read reviews on their device while in electronics stores. Department stores (43%) and mass merchandisers (34%) are the next most-popular venues for reading reviews, as they were for scanning QR codes. In grocery stores, reading reviews proves to be less common than scanning QR codes (14% vs. 26%).
Mobile Couponing Highest in Grocery, Department Stores
Whereas electronics stores are the most popular venues for reading reviews and scanning QR codes, grocery stores and department stores top the list for smartphone shoppers in terms of using or requesting a coupon (both at 41%), followed closely by clothing stores (39%). Roughly 3 in 10 use or request a coupon in an electronics store, while about one-quarter do so at a mass merchandiser.
Retailer-Branded Apps Lead Some to Higher Engagement
Retailers looking to leverage the increasing popularity of smartphones to their advantage may want to consider releasing a branded application. According to survey results from ABI Research released in May 2012, despite a fairly low proportion (25%) of US smartphone owners saying they have downloaded a retailer-branded application, many of those who have said the app caused them to visit the store more often (45.8%), buy more of the store/brand’s products and services (40.4%), tell a friend about their store shopping experience (35.8%), and encourage friends to visit the store (30.8%).
On the flip side, ABI Research acknowledges that the level of positive response could be affected by the profile of the respondents, who might be enthusiastic fans of particular stores. Indeed, the data could also be interpreted to mean that even among these enthusiastic respondents, more than half did not report increased levels of engagement due to their branded app downloads. Additionally, apps may increase competition: 37.9% of the respondents said that downloading a retailer’s branded app caused them to download other retailer-branded apps.
About the Data: The Nielsen data is based on a survey of 3,308 adults who own either a tablet or a smartphone and have done a mobile shopping activity in the past 30 days. “Mobile Shopping” includes purchases, researching products, finding stores, checking price, writing a review, reading a review, using lists (e.g. shopping, baby/wedding registry, etc), or commenting about a purchase on a social networking site. The survey was conducted in later February and early March.
The ABI Research data is based on a survey conducted in December 2011 of 2,000 consumers in the US, 985 of whom were smartphone users.