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Mobile important part of consumer holiday shopping behavior: study

Mobile phones have become an important part of holiday shopping in a variety of ways, from price comparison to product research, according to report by multicultural mobile marketing agency Briabe Media Inc.

For the report on holiday retail sentiments of Americans and the use of mobile devices in holiday shopping, Briabe used data culled from a survey of more than 12,000 respondents from MocoSpace, a mobile social network focused on the mobile Internet. The findings revealed that age demographics determine if the upcoming holiday season will be a boom or bust for retailers, with consumer under 30 planning to spend more, while those over 30 planning to spend less.

“We were amazed to learn just how significant the mobile phone has become as a shopping aid assisting consumers in making real-time purchase decisions James Briggs, managing director of Briabe Media, Venice, CA.

“When you take into account Google’s recent announcement that its mobile search grew 130 percent year-over-year, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that a lot of those searches are consumers looking to make buying decisions,” he said.

“This really speaks to the need advertisers will have to further embrace the mobile platform in creative ways in order to reach consumers at the point of selection.”

Briabe Media helps brands leverage mobile platforms to connect with their target customers via platforms and campaigns that complement their existing marketing efforts.  

MocoSpace is a mobile Internet entertainment destination with more than 15 million registered users generating more than 3 billion pages per month.

Mobile youth
Age plays a big role in American spending plans this holiday season.

Survey responses indicate that consumer spending over the holidays will increase from last year for Americans under the age of 30, but decrease for 30 year-olds and above.

Fifty-nine percent of those under 19 plan to spend more and 52 percent of 20-29 year-olds plan to spend more, but the majority—53 percent—of 30-39 year-olds plan to spend less.

The survey finds a further drop-off after that, with 62 percent of 40-49 year-olds planning to spend less.

When it comes to mobile phone usage, 76 percent of respondents noted that their phone is “somewhat important” to “very important” to their holiday shopping this year.

While 62 percent of respondents said they were likely to use their phone for product research before entering a store, only 46 percent use their mobile in-store for comparison shopping.

Only 14 percent of  survey respondents said they use mobile coupons, although 30 percent are more likely to use them around the holidays.
“As a mobile agency that spends a lot of time studying consumers’ mobile behavior, we were surprised to see how quickly the gap between young mobile users and older ones is closing in terms of embracing mobile phones for activities other than traditional communications services,” Mr. Briggs said.

For example, the Briggs study found that 79 percent of teenagers stated that they used their phones for comparison-shopping, with 77 percent of young adults ages 20-29 and 74 percent of adults 30-plus doing the same.

“The gap between the age groups would have been much larger in favor of the younger audiences just a couple of years ago,” Mr. Briggs said.“The results of this study provide new evidence of expanding consumer reliance on mobile phones to manage their daily lives and to help in their decision making process.

“Moreover, we are seeing a growing use of mobile phones to aid in shopping decisions, including for holiday purchases.”

MocoSpace’s take
This mobile survey demonstrates the value of reaching young shoppers during the holiday season, as they are the ones looking to open their wallets more than last year.

Mobile phones have become a crucial shopping tool, especially earlier during the buy cycle, a fact probably attributed to the rapid adoption of smartphone devices with increased browser speeds and faster access to data.

“Smartphone adoption is huge in driving growth Casey Jones, vice president of music and marketing at MocoSpace, Boston. “For the MocoSpace audience—and mobile users in general—smartphone browsers are enabling much faster and intuitive access to shopping information away from the desktop, meaning more mobile search, product research and comparison-shopping closer to the actual transaction.

“We see mobile browsing trends accelerating in 2011, as search, adoption of mobile payments and coupons, and mobile social networking surges,” he said. “The outlook looks excellent for brands who are exploring ways to reach consumers via mobile, especially before they enter the store.

“Clearly, there is consumer demand for offers via mobile, but it is imperative to preserve the brand/consumer relationship and strive to send relevant marketing messages and valuable offers.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily