Mobile accounted for roughly 1 in every 6 retail dollars spent online during Q4 2015, per a recent report from comScore. With these devices gaining more influence on digital shopping and in-store buying, it’s important to understand what matters to mobile shoppers. A recent report from Nielsen provides some insights.
The Nielsen survey was carried out among more than 3,700 mobile device owners who had used their smartphone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the prior 30 days. Conducted during Q4 2015, the results show that the most common shopping activity undertaken by both smartphone and tablet shoppers is researching an item before purchasing it (72% and 66% having done so in the prior 30 days, respectively). Additionally, the second-most common action, checking the price of an item, was shared by both smartphone and tablet shoppers (70% and 57%, respectively). This points to the use of mobile devices as research tools, which has been well documented in the past. (Indeed, new data from SessionM indicates that among users of its SessionM Mobile Marketing Cloud, mobile devices are more commonly used than desktops/laptops, in-store browsing and window shopping for researching products.
Beyond these common activities, though, there are some divergences between smartphone and tablet shoppers. Smartphone shoppers, for example, were about twice as likely to have used a store locator to find a store (61% vs. 30%), almost three times as likely to have used a mobile coupon (55% vs. 20%), and more than twice as likely to have used lists while shopping (44% vs. 18%). These are reflective of the more on-the-go nature of smartphones as opposed to tablets.
For the most part, smartphone shoppers engaged in shopping-related activities on their devices to a greater extent than tablet shoppers. The only actions for which tablet shoppers matched or exceeded smartphone shoppers in engagement related to reviews (reading and writing) and actual purchases. The purchase element isn’t too surprising considering Monetate data demonstrating that conversion rates at US e-commerce sites are consistently higher for tablet than smartphone traffic.
So how to appeal to these shoppers? For the most part, smartphone and tablet shoppers share similar sentiments when it comes to their most important factors. The ability to see product pictures is easily the most important factor, cited by 62% of smartphone shoppers and 63% of tablet shoppers. Next up, using the mobile-friendly version of a website is – not too surprisingly – more important to smartphone (48%) than tablet (35%) shoppers. Beyond those, both device owners similarly weight the importance of having the product descriptions, being able to read product reviews and the ability to see/compare price of the product.
Other research, from Adobe, suggests that convenience and the ability to check prices are the most important facets of the overall mobile retail experience.
Interestingly, the security of the website is lower down the rung of factors for both sets of mobile shoppers, though it was more commonly cited by tablet shoppers responding to the Nielsen survey. Research from Bizrate Insights has similarly found recently that data security issues are not a huge concern for mobile shoppers. These results should be viewed in context of other research, however, indicating that almost 1 in 5 internet users in the US say they’re making fewer purchases online due to privacy concerns.
The Nielsen data also indicates that commerce and shopping app usage are on the rise, growing by 15% year-over-year in Q4 time spent and unique audience. As for apps, previous research from UPS and comScore indicate that product images (54%) and product reviews (53%) are considered the most important retail app features by users.
About the Data: Nielsen describes its methodology as follows:
“The insights from Nielsen’s English Language Mobile Wallet Report were gathered from a general population sample 18+ years old and consisted of 3,734 respondents identified through Nielsen Mobile Insights syndicated study who have used their smartphone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the past 30 days.
App usage comes from Nielsen’s Electronic Mobile Measurement (EMM), an observational, user-centric approach that uses passive metering technology on smartphones and tablets to track device and application usage on an opt-in convenience panel, recruited online and in English. There are approximately 9,000 smartphone panelists in the U.S. across both iOS and Android devices. This method provides a holistic view of all activity on the device as the behavior is being tracked without interruption.”