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African Americans, Hispanics are fastest adopters of mobile shopping activities

The results of a new report from The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research indicate that multicultural marketing has a big opportunity in mobile, with Hispanic and African-American consumers adopting mobile shopping behavior at a faster rate than the total population.

The latest edition of The Checkout report focuses on mobile shoppers and finds that African Americans outpace the total population in many mobile shopping behavior, with more than 30 percent having used a mobile device to locate a retailer, over 20 percent having used a mobile device to read product reviews and more than 20 percent having used mobile to keep a shopping list. By gender, the results also show that women are adopting mobile shopping faster than men.

“The big news is adoption rate of technology amongst women and amongst multicultural audiences,” said Craig Elston, senior vice president of insight and strategy at The Integer Group, Denver, CO.

“We tend to think of ‘tech’ being a guy thing, but the utility that mobile brings to people is something that is being adopted by those groups who are either under time pressure or are maybe leapfrogging a generation of tech,” he said.

“Shoppers are slowing changing their habits and starting to view their mobile devices as a shopping aid that helps them organize their shopping list, stretch budgets and find the best deals, inspire them, etc.”

SMS is key
Hispanics take the lead when it comes to using mobile to compare prices, with one in five having done so, according to the report.

African Americans and Hispanics are also more interested in interacting with retailers and brands via mobile, while more than half of Caucasians do not want to be contacted. However, because smartphone penetration is lower for these groups, basic SMS and the mobile Web are the best points of entry for brands.

SMS is the No. 1 desired means of interaction for African Americans with more than 40 percent preferring this method, while Hispanics engage via a range of methods, including texts, mobile Web sites and applications.

By gender, the results show that while 25 percent of U.S. consumers use their phones to shop, women are adopting  mobile as a shopping tool faster than men.

Accessibility is the main motivator in mobile use for shopping. For women, the second-most important aspect is exclusivity while for men it is content. This shows that women are interested in being viewed as savvy shoppers, while men want a little something extra for their efforts.

Households with children
Other interesting findings include that consumers from a household where children are present are more tech-savvy.

A greater percentage of shoppers in households with children are using mobile to shop, with 19 percent of consumers in households with children using mobile to make lists, while only 13 percent do so in households without children. Additionally, 16 percent of consumers in households with children scan bar codes in the store, while only 9 percent do so in households without children.

Similar differentials appear when it comes to brand and retailer interactions via a mobile phone. While 54 percent of non-children households are not interested in this type of engagement, 58 percent of households with children are interested in brand interactions.

The preferred method for this kind of engagement is SMS, with nearly 40 percent of consumers in households with children preferring this method for brand interactions while 30 percent prefer a mobile app.

“I think retailers should keep it simple still,” Mr. Elston said. “Don’t forget that text is still an incredibly effective method to deliver a relevant and timely message and prove the worth of mobile as a channel, and still the most popular way many shoppers look for engagement with brands and retailers.

“Each retailer needs to work out what are the most appropriate behaviors for it to put in place for its brand and its shoppers via mobile,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York