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deloitte-mobile-influence-store-category-june2012.pngFully 49% of electronic and appliance shoppers use smartphones in-store, and 8.3% of sales in those stores are influenced by smartphones, according to [pdf] new research from Deloitte. Electronics and appliance stores see the highest smartphone use and frequency among 11 types of retail stores (including department stores, apparel, grocery stores, etc.), where smartphone use influences 5.1% of sales on average. This influence translates into $159 billion in forecasted sales for 2012. That influence will rise as high as 20.6% in 2016, to reach $689 billion.

Smartphones are most likely to be used for store-related shopping when the customer is close to or at the point of making a purchase, rather than as a passive shopping device. Over 60% of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in a store, and another 50% while on their way to a store, according to Deloitte’s report, “The Dawn of Mobile Influence.” Deloitte developed a metric called the “mobile influence factor,” which measures the percentage of traditional in-store sales being influenced by mobile devices, versus by straight dollar figures.

Mobile Applications Drive Sales Conversions

37% of smartphone owners who used a smartphone on their last shopping trip used a 3rd-party mobile shopping application, and 34% used a retailer’s dedicated app. Conversion rate in stores among shoppers using a retailer’s dedicated app was 85%, fully 21% points higher than those who did not (64%). The challenge is that those 37% using a 3rd party application often link to price comparison tools or deal finders, suggesting that dedicated apps are necessary to combat “showrooming,” the practice by consumers of using a retailer to see a product which they purchase elsewhere.

Indeed, a newly-released report [pdf] from Microsoft, “Mobile in the Consumer Journey,” finds that one-third of average consumers use their mobile phones to compare grocery prices, both in-store and during planning, a figure that rises to 71% among savvy smartphone users.

Smartphones Priority For In-Store Conversions

A study released in June by InMobi and Mobext examines the use of 3 different devices (tablets, smartphones, and personal computers) worldwide to gain insight on how they complement each other and when, where, and why they are each used. Survey results show that tablets have become the preferred device at home and smartphones are preferred on the go, with 37% of those surveyed using smartphones out of home to make a purchase, versus a negligible percentage of tablet users. Still, 55% of respondents report first learning about a product on their tablets. This data suggests that neither device can be ignored, but the smartphone app/presence is the priority for in-store conversions.

About the Data: The survey commissioned by Deloitte was conducted online by an independent research company between March 20 and 30, 2012. The survey polled a national sample of 1,041 random consumers and then augmented this sample with additional smartphone owners to reach a sample of 1,557 smartphone owners.

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