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33pc of smartphone owners share location with retailers: study

The 2012 Social & Mobile Commerce Consumer study found that the percent of ecommerce dollars spent via mobile devices tripled between the fourth-quarter of 2010 and the fourth-quarter of 2011 for a total of nine percent. Additionally, 33 percent of smartphone owners have shared their location with retailers by using the map feature on a retail app, via a check-in service such as foursquare or by finding nearby deals using a service such as Groupon Now.

“The biggest news is that t smartphone and tablet ecommerce spend tripled from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011 – you just can’t ignore these numbers,” said Vicki Cantrell, executive director at, Washington, DC.

“The real message is the convergence of social and mobile,” she said.

“Thirty-three percent of smartphone owners share their location with retailers – retailers are really looking at that because they can capitalize on that in a lot of way, including couponing where they are as well as talking to and interacting in a different way.”

Mobile traffic skyrockets
The report focuses on the impact that social media and mobile have on the shopping research and purchase process.

According to the research, smartphone owners are increasingly engaged in shopping-related activities, with the number of smartphone owners accessing online retail sites via mobile growing 76 percent year-over-year.

The number is even more dramatic for some retailers with Amazon seeing a 117 percent increase in the number of site visitors from mobile phones between Feb. 2011 and Feb. 2012, Walmart a 238 percent increase and JCPenney a 332 percent increase.

Additionally, 64 percent of consumers have used their smarpthone for some shopping research activity while 74 percent of tablet owners have done the same. Tablet owners are also more active purchasers, with 34 percent having made at least one purchase via their tablet during the three-month period ended March 2012, while only 17 percent of smartphone owners had done the same.

The report also shows 43 percent of smarpthone owners having used their mobile device while in a store for a shopping purpose. Interestingly, 35 percent of tablet owners have done the same.

“There is so much cross-platform activity,” Ms. Cantrell said. “There is a slight difference in how shoppers use tablets and smartphones.

“The top six shopping-related activities are very similar but are in a slightly different order for each,” she said. “This includes taking pictures of products, sharing and comparison shopping.”

Social mobile convergence
With smartphone penetration growing, accessing social media sites via a mobile device is also on the rise. The report found that 38 percent of smartphone owners access social media sites on a daily basis.

While social media use is pervasive, the number of online consumers who follow retailers through one or more social networking sites declined four points from 2011 with 38 percent now following retailers via social. The reasons cited by consumers for choosing to not follow retailers include a lack of interest, a desire to not share personal information, a lack of time and privacy concerns.

While Facebook is dominant among consumers who follow retailers via social media, it fell by five points versus last year for 35 percent of these consumers.

At the same, other social media offerings – while currently a small percentage of overall use – are growing.

The report found that 9 percent of consumers who follow retailers via social media are engaging with retailers via Twitter, 8 percent on YouTube and 2 percent on Pinterest.

Pinterest consumers are highly engaged, according to the report, and follow an average of 9.3 retailers compared with 6.9 on Facebook.

Pinterest has grown dramatically in the past nine months from 500,000 users in May 2011 to more than 17 million unique visitors in Feb. 2012. Additionally, Pinterest users spend an average of 38 minutes per day on the site.

The features used by consumers when following retailers through social network sites include deals, coupons and promotions (51 percent), product information (43 percent), contest and sweepstakes information (41 percent) and posting or reading comments (36 percent).

However, the interest in deals and coupons is down seven points from last year, suggesting consumers may be feeling overwhelmed by the number of offers available and are losing interest.

“The most surprising finding was the growth in Pinterest and YouTube,” Ms. Cantrell said. “On Pinterest, the average person spends 38 minutes on the site, which is huge. Two-thirds actually click-through to a retailer’s site.

“YouTube is emerging as a bona fide social commerce venue. We are seeing a big surge in consumer going to videos for product and deal information.”

“Consumers are driving this. They are expressing that they want more than just coupons – they want product information, styling tips, how-tos and expert opinions and that comes across great in video.”