Mobile Proves an Important Touch Point for Retailers

May 30, 2012

ipsos-mobile-retail-email-opens-may2012.jpgMobile phones are establishing themselves as an important way for retailers to connect with consumers and entice them into purchases, according to a pair of studies released in May 2012. Data from an Ipsos survey finds that within the US, roughly one-quarter of consumers have opened a retail email on their mobile phone, with that proportion rising to 37% among consumers aged under 35, 32% among business owners, and 31% among those with high educational levels of attainment. Beyond opening emails, mobile owners are also interested in receiving vouchers: according to an eDigitalResearch survey, more than half of smartphone owners would be fairly or very interested in receiving vouchers sent to their devices.

Smartphone Owners Open to Offers

Further data from the eDigitalResearch survey reveals that 1 in 5 smartphone owners would be very interested in having special offers sent to their devices, and 16% would be very interested in sale information. More than one-quarter also said they would be happy to receive personalized recommendations, offers, and notifications from retailers when entering their stores. A similar proportion would prefer to receive information while at home, while one-quarter also said they would be open to receiving information sent while out shopping.

Branding makes a difference, though: 1 in 5 smartphone owners said that their openness to receiving information on their devices depended on the store or brand sending them.

Mobile Commerce Heats Up

Mobile owners aren’t only opening emails and receiving offers, they’re acting on them, too. Among the smartphone owners surveyed by eDigitalResearch, only 37% said they had never shopped using their device, representing a 21% decline from June 2010 and a 12% drop from last year. In fact, 1 in 5 use their devices to shop on a monthly basis, and a further 7% to do so on a daily basis. This is a large step forward from 2010, when only 13% were using their devices to shop online regularly.

Other Findings:

  • According to the Ipsos survey, 29% of consumers globally report having opened a retail email on their mobile phone, with high-income households the most likely to do so (39%). Retailers should be cautious about when they send their emails, though: data from a Cellit study also released in May suggests that more consumers unsubscribe from mobile emails on weekends than weekdays. The average unsubscribe for the retailers included in the study was 18 per thousand messages sent on weekdays, compared to 85 per thousand messages sent on weekends.
  • The eDigitalResearch survey results suggest that smartphone owners prefer shopping via mobile-optimized sites rather than mobile applications. 51% said they had shopped via the former, compared to 45% who had done so via the latter.
  • Close to one-quarter of the smartphone owners said they are using mobile apps on a weekly basis to shop for products.
  • Although smartphone owners are most apt to browse, shop, or find product information while at home (74%), a high proportion also do so while on transport (69%), at lunch (68%), and out shopping (68%).
  • The percentage of smartphone owners who have bought various products and services on their device has surged in the past 2 years. For example, 32% of the respondents to this year’s survey have bought books, CDs, DVDs, and games in the past 6 months, compared to just 10% of the 2010 survey respondents. Other categories where dramatically higher proportions indicate recent purchases this year include clothing (24% vs. 5%), jewelry (22% vs. 3%), home and consumer electronics (18% vs. 4%), and footwear (19% vs. 4%).
  • Security (46%) is the top mobile site feature rated very influential by smartphone owners, ahead of quick browsing (29%) and fast loading images (27%).
  • 44% of device owners plan to use their smartphones more to browse in the next year. Among respondents who own a cell phone without smartphone functionalities, 17% expect to upgrade to a smartphone in the next year, and of those, 3 in 5 will use their new device for shopping.
  • Further results from the Cellit report indicates that a mobile database will be somewhere in the range of 2-10% of the email database.

About the Data: The Ipsos data is based on a survey of 12,000 respondents from 24 countries, including 500 from the US. The eDigitalResearch data is based on a survey of 509 smartphone owners and 504 “ordinary” phone owners.

Cellit analyzed 1,180 campaigns sent by retailers with a national footprint over 450 days throughout 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The average database size was 40,868 subscribers, with a minimum of 497 and a maximum of 174,930.

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