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88pc of millennials to use mobile for holiday shopping: Google

Millennials will be a big driver of online and mobile shopping this holiday season, with 88 percent of all millennial smartphone owners planning to use their devices for holiday shopping this year compared to 76 percent of all smartphone owners, according to a new report from Google.

Millennials will also be completing more purchases on their phones this year, with one in three millennial smartphone owners planning to make a holiday purchase on their phone, up 28 percent year over year. In contrast, 17 percent of adults age 35 and above who own smartphones plan to make a holiday purchase on their phones, up 13 percent.

“Online commerce is still a smaller portion of total holiday sales for many retailers – but it’s growing, particularly on mobile,” said Scott Falzone, retail industry director at Google, Mountain View, CA. “Our study found that both online purchasing and research on mobile devices will be up this year.

“At the end of the day, we need to make it easier for consumers to research and purchase through their mobile devices since this is clearly the way consumers are going,” he said. “And there are lots of tools retailers can implement to do this.”

Top holiday resource
The Internet will be the top resource for holiday shopping, according to Google, with four out of five shoppers considering the Internet as the single most useful resource for their shopping. Three out of four say online research will influence the brands they buy and where they buy them.

Millennials over-index on all phone activities, with 30 percent of millennials planning to research and purchase on their smartphones compared with 20 percent of other demographics.

Millennials are also more likely to purchase in store and then research on their smartphone.

Additionally, 95 percent of  millennials plan to use the Internet as a holiday shopping resource compared to 87 percent of consumers 35-years-old and above.

The mobile impact will be felt more broadly, with 41 percent of adults and 76 percent of all smartphone owners planning to use their devices for holiday browsing. This means a 17 percent increase in overall mobile shopping from last year.

The search giant also found that more purchases will be done via mobile, with one in four smartphone owners surveyed planning to use their devices to make a purchase, up 21 percent year-over-year. Google expects mobile holiday shopping to spike on weekends, especially the weekend following Black Friday, which has traditionally been when a lot shoppers visit bricks-and-mortar stores.

Black Friday
Marketers need to prepare for this spike in mobile shopping during the weekend following Black Friday.

However, mobile shopping does not necessarily replace in-store shopping, according to Google.

The company’s research found that shoppers are equally likely to use smartphones while shopping in-store as online.

Additionally, nearly half will research on their phones and then make a purchase in-store.

Shopping starts early
Other key findings from the survey include that shoppers are crossing devices as well as channels, with 80 percent of consumers using more than one device at a time when holiday shopping while 84 percent will start on one device and finish on another.

The findings suggest it is important for retailers to have a multiscreen strategy as well as focusing on the entire path to purchase that shoppers are taking.

Other shopping trends revealed by the survey include that consumers are starting their holiday shopping early this year but do not expect to finish until mid-December or even later.

However, nearly two out of three shoppers have not decided what they are going to buy yet, and more than half are open to purchasing from a retailer they have not considered in the past.

Shoppers are increasingly expecting holiday promotions, with 81 percent saying they will rely on them. However, shoppers also plan to spend to more this year.

Mobile opportunity
Some of the toys that Google users are searching for include Rainbow Loom, Kinetic Sand, Grand Theft Auto 5 and Madden 25. Top searches in the apparel category include Heidi Klum’s New Balance line, Air Jordan Bel Air and Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson’s dress line.

Some of the tools available to retailers to making shopping on mobile easier include Google Wallet Instant Buy, which enables shoppers to make a purchase on their mobile device in just two clicks.

Local product listing ads on Google Shopping help people see if products are available online or in a store near them.

“What we’re seeing this holiday is that retailers who are using the tools to take advantage of this opportunity are going to be the ones capturing mindshare most,” Mr. Falzone said.

“Last year, some retailers turned off Wi-Fi in their stores because they wanted to steer shoppers away from showrooming,” he said. “This year we’re seeing more retailers viewing mobile as an opportunity rather than a threat, using in-store mobile behavior as an advantage by directing shoppers to their mobile site to find more information and products reviews.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York