Smartphones and Tablets Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions on Mobile, Online and in Store

(Cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads and Google Retail Blogs)

Retailers are largely focused on how consumers are shopping across channels and devices. We know consumers love their mobile and tablet devices, but we are just beginning to develop a strong understanding of how they engage with these devices as they make their purchase decisions. To gain greater insight into this key behavior, we partnered with Ipsos during the 2011 holiday shopping season to study online shoppers. We uncovered a number of interesting consumer behaviors across desktop computers, smartphones and tablets. The powerful data we uncovered can drive best practices for advertisers at every holiday and year round.

The first key mobile insight every advertiser should know is that consumers use their smartphones at many different points in their purchase path. 41% of those who used their mobile phones to help with shopping said they made a purchase directly on their smartphone. 46% said they researched an item on their smartphone then went to a store to make their purchase. 37% said they researched an item on their smartphone then made their purchase online.

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Another key mobile insight that emerged is that consumers used all three devices throughout the research process, but some activities were more popular on specific devices. Consumers who owned tablets read product reviews and looked for product information more from their tablet devices than from their desktop computer or smartphone. This is likely due to the combination of the large screen and portability of the device that enables consumers to use it more often and in more places. Consumers are carrying tablets with them to the couch, while in the kitchen, and even to bed.

Not surprisingly, more consumers used their smartphones to contact a retailer. With the natural calling ability of phones and many click-to-call phone numbers on websites and in ads, smartphones make it easy to contact retailers, whether to see if the store has the product in stock, get directions or find store hours.

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While the 2011 holiday season is now firmly behind us, it’s clear that smartphones and tablets are only going to become a bigger part of the consumer shopping experience. Among consumers that used their devices to shop last year, 80% of smartphone shoppers and 70% of tablet users said they used their device more frequently this year.

To stay ahead of this shift in consumer behavior, advertisers need to make sure they have a mobile optimized site, make it easy for customers to reach them with click-to-call and deliver a seamless experience between online and offline in-store. It’s the advertisers who engage with their customers across all three devices that will have a distinct advantage in 2012.

To learn more about consumer shopping behavior across the desktop computer, smartphone and tablet and view a full report on Post Holiday Learnings for 2012.

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