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63pc of consumers used more than one device to holiday shop: study

Google and Nielsen have released some new mobile holiday shopping data that looks at how consumers used multiple screens to shop this year. Understanding the context of a device and how it is used in conjunction with other devices was key in mobile commerce this year.

“As businesses became more sophisticated in building good mobile experiences last year, mobile made shopping easier and more enjoyable for people,” said Adam Grunewald, product marketing manager at Google, Mountain View, CA.

“Leveraging the unique characteristics of mobile – like the ability to find directions, call a business or check store inventory – made holiday shopping easier and more efficient for people while they were out and about,” he said. “As a result we found that the majority of these mobile users were shopping more and buying more things.”

Buy on mobile
In addition to the 63 percent of shoppers who used more than one mobile device to shop, 67 percent of the consumers polled said that they believed having a mobile device made shopping easier this year.

The increase of screens means that consumers are shopping more, per the findings.

For example, 50 percent of consumers surveyed agreed with the statement, “I find that being able to shop on multiple devices makes me do so more frequently.”

Consumers that researched and shopped from one device shopped and researched across six different product categories. The number of verticals increases to eight product categories when two devices are used.

Consumers with three devices shopped and browsed across nine product categories.

The research also looks at how consumers engaged with devices in patterns. For instance, 75 percent of consumers surveyed might start their experience on a smartphone with a retailer’s mobile site and then continue the experience on a desktop site later.

The findings point to digital consumption being up across smartphones, tablets and desktops.

Sixty-five percent of consumers polled said that they used their smartphones more in 2012, 27 percent used them the same amount of time and eight percent of consumers used them less often.

When it comes to tablet and desktop users, 66 percent of consumers surveyed said that they used their devices more this year, and 19 percent used the devices about the same this year. Fifteen percent of PC and tablet users interact with their devices less.

The key to understanding how all the devices work together in the shopping journey derives from looking at the context and intent that users have on each device.

“Intent is a hugely important signal for showing relevant information, and people are searching for information across all kinds of devices,” Mr. Grunewald said.

“We’re seeing that in this multiscreen world, the device someone chooses is largely determined by their specific context — like location, time of day and the capabilities of the device,” he said. “This combination of intent and context can be really powerful.”

Google’s Mobile Playbook — an interactive resource for marketers

Mobile tools
When it comes to how consumers use their smartphones, the devices are used for a mixture of utility and loyalty functions.

For example, 71 percent of smartphone shoppers used a store locator while 65 percent used a shopping application.

Fifty-one percent of the same group used mobile coupons, and 40 checked-in to stores via their smartphones.

Mobile loyalty programs were used by 32 percent of smartphone shoppers, and 15 percent used near-field communication.

Search on mobile
Google also looked at how consumers used their mobile devices to search for New Years-related queries.

On Jan. 1, consumers used their smartphones to search for keywords associated with New Year’s resolutions, such as gym information, diets or cleanses. The following day, searches for the same keywords spiked across tablets and desktops, likely when users had more time to research.

“I think we’ll see mobile commerce continue to grow this year, especially as more companies develop mobile-optimized sites or apps and adopt payment solutions that make it easier for a user to transact,” Mr. Grunewald said.

“In addition to mobile commerce, I also think this is the year that business will really put a lot of attention into understanding mobile attribution,” he said.

“Many marketers don’t fully understand their mobile investments because they’re only measuring mobile commerce – when these businesses start to attribute the store visits, phone calls, in-app purchases and even transactions on other devices, they’ll understand the full value of mobile and make more effective marketing decisions.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York