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68pc of smartphone users to shop via mobile during holidays: report

Consumers will be using their smartphones more for finding store locations as well as tablets to shop and browse this holiday, according to a report from Deloitte.

Deloitte’s 2013 Annual Holiday Survey found that optimism and increased confidence about the economy will result in higher spending this holiday season, with a 12 percent increase in overall intended spending. Consumers who will use smartphones for holiday shopping expect to spend $480 on gifts and $1,494 total, and omnichannel consumers plan to spend $558 on gifts and $1,643 total on mobile, in-store and online.

“Our data showed that smartphone penetration is now over 60 percent,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail & distribution leader at Deloitte, New York. “Of those smartphone users nearly seven out of ten said that they were going to use their phone during their holiday shopping.

“Mostly, it’s not for buying things through their phone,” she said. “But they use it for finding a store location or checking on prices and getting more product information.

“With our past research, this shows that the mobile phone shopper, the person that’s walking through the aisle with a smartphone is actually 14 percent more likely to purchase. We believe that this is a good thing for retailers, and they should not resist. This is a good sign that a shopper is engaged and ready to make a purchase.”

The Deloitte survey polled a national sample of 5,018 consumers between Sept. 13-23, 2013.

Omnichannel shoppers
The amount that omnichannel shoppers intend to spend this holiday season is 76 percent higher than those who only shop in bricks-and-mortar stores. This points to a huge opportunity for retailers to address cross-screen, cross-channel audiences.

This year’s survey also marks the first time that the Internet ranks No. 1 for the venue that consumers expect to shop.

Forty-seven percent of respondents expect to shop online, 44 percent in discount/value department stores and 28 percent in traditional departments stores.

Among those shopping online, 38 percent said they plan to spend the majority online.

Out of the respondents that own smartphones, 68 percent will use them for holiday shopping. When asked what they will use smartphones for, 56 percent responded to get store locations, 54 percent to check/compare prices, 47 percent to get product information, 45 percent to shop/browse online, 44 percent to read reviews, 40 percent to check product availability in-store and 36 percent to get/use coupons, discounts and sale information.

Additionally, 32 percent said they would use it to scan bar codes for product information, 31 percent to make a purchase online, 29 percent to access social networks and 24 percent to get text messages or exclusive deals from retailers.

Out of the respondents that own tablets, 63 percent plan to use it for holiday shopping.

When asked what they will use smartphones for, 69 percent said to shop/browse online, 58 percent to check/compare prices, 58 percent to get product information, 57 percent to read reviews and 52 percent to make a purchase online.

Additionally, 47 percent would use their tablet to check product availability in-store, 44 percent to get store locations, 30 percent to access social networks and 30 percent to get/use coupons, discounts and sale information.

Forty-five percent of respondents said they plan to use social media as a part of their holiday shopping process. Some of the reasons cited were to research gift ideas, find discounts, read reviews and browse products.

In-store experience
The Deloitte survey also found that 22 percent of the respondents would be more likely to purchase in-store from retailer that offered self-service/mobile checkout.  Of those 22 percent, 17 percent would use the retailer’s mobile app to checkout and 13 percent would use mobile payments, while 60 percent would use price checkers and self-checkout payment lanes.

Fourteen percent would be more likely to purchase from a retailer that offered Wi-Fi for comparison shopping.

Another interesting find in the survey was that 73 percent said they will be influenced by coupons and promotional offers. Additionally, 71 percent are looking for free shipping, 47 percent for free returns, 44 percent for price matching, 36 percent for extended holiday hours and 35 percent for the ability to order online and pick up in-store.

“There’s no overstating what a giant influction point this is for bricks-and-mortar retailers,” Ms. Paul said. “They are really challenged to appeal to consumers in new and different ways than just being the place where someone transacts because you can do that anywhere now.

“What you see the most successful retailers doing is offering unique products that you can only get through them, particularly if it’s a short-lived product that’s only available during the holidays,” she said. “I think they are really beefing up the in-store experience, by making it more visually appealing and engaging.

“The third is to take sales employees and turn them into brand advocates. They are knowledgeable, they are connected to the Internet and they’re knowledgeable about the stock enterprise-wide not just in the store. These are three ways that retailers can leverage the asset that is the store and not let it become just one more location that is not very interesting to the consumer.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York