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87pc of shoppers prefer mobile Web over apps for buying: study

In the “Meet the connected consumer” report, Zmags took a look at how consumers are shopping on mobile platforms. Compared to Web, only 4 percent of the consumers surveyed said they would pick shopping via a retailer’s application.

“Apps may well fit into a retailer’s strategy, but as they plan their investments, retailers need to think carefully about the proper role apps play in building and strengthening customer relationships,” said Sean Ford, chief marketing officer at Zmags, Boston.

“This survey suggests that apps are not the best approach for filling an online shopping cart,” he said.

Zmags is a merchandising platform that creates digital products for retailers.

Shopping Web
The study polled 1,500 consumers in the United States and was executed by Equation Research.

In particular, electronics are a hot item for consumers to buy on mobile with 53 percent of tablet consumers polled saying that they primarily used their tablet to shop. Thirty-five percent of smartphone users said they shopped for electronics on their devices.

Forty-nine percent of mobile shoppers polled said they planned to do more shopping via their devices in 2012, and 87 percent of tablet owners said they used their device to shop this past holiday season.

Clothing, travel and toys are also popular shopping areas for mobile consumers and will increase in use in 2012, per the study.

According to the study, 41 – 45 percent of consumers who shop online for electronics, jewelry, clothing and toys own a smartphone and 62 – 65 percent of consumers shop via print or digital catalogs.

Despite the increase in online shopping, connected consumers, or users tethered to a digital device, still overwhelmingly prefer to shop in-stores.

Seventy-one percent of consumers polled said they preferred to buy things in a physical store, showing the opportunity that mobile has for marketers looking to combine retail and online commerce.

Fourteen percent of consumers polled said they preferred shopping via a mobile site.

Plugged in consumers
With the high level of mobile commerce activity on tablets, the study also looked at how shopping is done on the devices.

Forty-three percent of tablet users described themselves as savvy shoppers who scour the Web to find the best deals.

Fourteen percent of tablet shoppers said they used their tablets for spontaneous shopping, and 10 percent said they remained loyal to their favorite brands while shopping via mobile.

Tablets are also being used for quick, in-between times for users with 24 percent of tablet users saying they shopped on their devices two or three times a month, and 21 percent saying  they shopped more than once a week.

Twenty-nine percent of tablet shoppers used their devices because of convenience, showing the upgrade that retailers have made to their mobile offerings in the past year. Twenty-four percent of consumers used their devices to browse.

With a plethora of new tablets on the market and mobile commerce expected to increase in 2012, tablet and shopping will continue to feed into each other this year.

“The tablet and smartphone are both critical elements of an effective commerce strategy, and both need to be part of a retailer’s ecosystem,” Mr. Ford said.

“Retailers need to get serious about tablet and social commerce in 2012 because consumers are adopting tablets at unprecedented rates,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York