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ColumbiaBizAIMIA-Frequency-Mobile-In-Store-Search-by-Price-Point-Sept2013While this may represent a case of research supporting intuition, a new study [pdf] from Columbia Business School and AIMIA finds that, generally speaking, the higher the product’s price point, the more likely that “M-Shoppers” (consumers using mobile devices while in retail stores to assist in their shopping decision) will conduct information research while in-store. Roughly one-quarter of M-shoppers in the US and Canada said they almost always conduct such searches on products priced at less than $100, that figure rose to 58% for products priced at $500 and more.

Similarly, while 36% regularly conduct in-store searches when looking at products priced at less than $50, 62% do so for products priced at $250 and up.

Besides price point, the study also finds that the frequency of in-store searches ranges significantly by product category. Respondents most commonly conduct in-store mobile searches for electronics and appliances (83% doing so almost always or frequently) and books and music (67%), with fewer do so for automotive (52%) and food and beverage (50%) products.

There are some intriguing results in the study’s section regarding the discount rates at which M-shoppers would consider buying online (these responses limited to US respondents). Almost 6 in 10 respondents would consider buying online if they could get a 10% discount on a $500 item. But a 10% discount on a $200 item would only persuade 50% to consider buying online, while swaying only 28% of those shopping for a $50 item. These results align with previous research from parago, which found that for an equal discount rate, consumers would be about 20% more likely to switch to an alternative online option (in this case Amazon) that provides larger dollar savings. The results from that study suggested that the focus on dollar savings over discounts could be attributable to a calculus regarding shipping costs.

Shipping shows up as a significant factor in the Columbia study, though not always for cost reasons. Among the M-Shoppers’ main reasons for showrooming, a leading 69% cited getting a lower price from the online retailer, while 47% pointed to free shipping from the online retailer. On the other side of the coin, the top reasons given for not showrooming were: needing the product right away (59%) and not wanting to wait for online shopping (53%).

About the Data: The online survey was designed by Columbia Business School and fielded by Harris Interactive from November 12-26, 2012. A total of 3,004 respondents completed the survey: 1,003 from the United States, 1,001 from the United Kingdom, and 1,000 from Canada. Qualified respondents are age 18 or older, reside in the US, UK or Canada, own either a smartphone or a tablet with a data plan, and have used their mobile device within the last twelve months to aid in shopping for a product while in a store (e.g., looked up information or reviews on the product, compared prices, texted or called a friend for advice, etc.). Data was age weighted to be representative of the general population (not just the online population) of age 18+ respondents in each
country.

Agreement-related questions used a standard 5-point scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. Frequency-related questions were asked on a 5-point scale as follows: Almost Never, Occasionally, Half-the-Time, Frequently, and Almost Always.

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