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Half of US consumers plan to use mobile for holiday shopping: MMA

More than half of U.S. consumers plan to use mobile devices for holiday shopping this year, according to the latest monthly survey of adult mobile phone users in the United States by the Mobile Marketing Association and Luth Research.

The October 2010 survey found that 59 percent of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls. Fully 25 percent of all mobile consumers said they were using their mobile phone more for holiday shopping and celebrating this holiday season, compared with the 2009 season.

“The key thing to think about, this is really showing that the mobile phone is becoming more than just a communication device for consumers, but a utility that helps them make informed decisions, especially in the context of shopping,” said Michael Becker, San Francisco-based managing director of North America at the MMA.

“At home as well as when they are out and about, consumers will use smartphones or tablets to research products and determine store locations,” he said. “When they actually get in-store, they are scanning bar codes from ShopSavvy and RedLaser, and if they like the content, finding deals nearby and looking for discounted prices.

“People are using mobile for getting more product information and product reviews to make a better informed purchase decision.”

The MMA is a global nonprofit trade association representing all players in the mobile marketing value chain.

Mobile shopping explosion
Based on Luth Research’s online panel, SurveySavvy, each MMA U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing collects answers from a demographically representative sample of more than 1,000 adult consumers.

The new survey identifies ways that brands and marketers should respond to trends among the 59 percent of mobile consumers intending to use their mobile phones for holiday shopping and celebration planning, a.k.a. “mobile holiday shoppers.”

This holiday season, for example, 64 percent of mobile holiday shoppers expect to use their mobile phone before going to a store, and 12 percent anticipate using their device to respond to a TV, billboard or newspaper ad.

Asians, Hispanics and adults ages 25-34 are the demographic groups most likely to use their phone to a great extent for holiday shopping and celebration planning, according to the research.

Thirteen percent of mobile holiday shoppers expect to use their phone to purchase or pay for gifts (13 percent).

 Searching for locations where a gift is sold, and comparing prices, are the two most common holiday-related tasks that mobile holiday shoppers anticipate using their mobile phone for.

Additionally, movies, music, consumer electronics and books are the top gift types that mobile holiday shoppers thought would be helpful to shop for using a mobile phone.

Among mobile holiday shoppers, Hispanics and Asians were more likely to think that toys or games would be helpful to shop for with a mobile phone.

“You can market directly through the mobile device to engage and interact with consumers, but even more important is the influence the mobile device has on engagement with brands and retailers,” Mr. Becker said.

“Mobile is going to play a massive role in the holiday shopping season, because it is a utility for consumers to make more efficient and informed decisions,” he said.

Final Take
The MMA’s Mr. Becker