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Mobile coupon use almost doubles during the holidays: report


Mobile offers and coupons are playing a key role for shoppers this holiday season as they look to make their money go farther, according to a new report from GfK Roper and SapientNitro.

Key findings from the third annual SapientNitro Holiday Shopping Poll include that so far this holiday season, 33 percent of smartphone owners have used a mobile coupon, up from 18 percent last year. Additionally, 56 percent of respondents said they would like to see retailers offer exclusive in-store mobile offers to enhance the shopping experience.

“The big news from a mobile perspective would be that people are embracing the mobile shopping experience more than ever,” said Bruce Barr, vice president of Omnibus Services at GfK Roper, New York.

“The results show a strong desire to have mobile offers and coupons,” he said.

Finding the best deals
The report found that a growing number of Americans are using a digital device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer to help them navigate and find the best bargains, with 43 percent saying that compared to last year’s holiday shopping season, they are relying more on a digital device to find deals.

The number is even higher – 59 percent – for 18 to 24 year old digital users.

Shoppers also report feeling overwhelmed by a growing number of options for deals, with 40 percent of smartphone users saying they are overwhelmed by so many deals being offered by email, newspapers, in store and via other channels.

Smartphone owners are putting digital devices to use at a higher rate this year across a variety of shopping activities, with 82 percent saying they have used a digital device to research and browse for products this holiday season, up from 67 percent last year. Additionally, 74 percent have purchased something via a digital device, up from 55 percent last year, 62 percent have used an email offer from a retailer, up from 45 percent, 56 percent have used a consumer rating site, up from 40 percent and 33 percent have used a mobile coupon , up from 18 percent.

Enhancing in-store shopping
The findings also reveal some of the up-and-coming ways that smartphone owners are using their devices, with 35 percent having used their GPS/location feature on their phone to help with holiday shopping this year, up from 31 percent.

Additionally, 27 percent used a QR code to find more information about a product, up from 19 percent, 9 percent used a Black Friday or Cyber Monday mobile app and 7 percent made a purchase via their tablet.

The report shows that 70 percent of Americans believe retailers can do more to enhance the in-store shopping experience, with mobile playing a key role in how this can be accomplished. As many as 63 percent would like to see free WiFi in stores,  56 percent would like to see exclusive in-store mobile offers and 57 percent would like to see interactive displays or kiosks that provide additional information or recommendations about products.

Additionally, 79 percent would like to have the ability to buy products in-store and have them shipped to home for free.

Among smartphone owners, 67 percent would like to be able to view store circulars and flyers on their phones, 59 percent would like to be able navigate their in-store trip via an app and 59 percent would like the option of being able to check out by scanning their mobile phone.

The convenience factor
The report reflects the significant ways that mobile has changed how consumers are shopping this holiday season, with 51 percent of digital users reporting that have browsed products in a physical store with the intention of purchasing online while 40 percent of American says they have purchased a product in a physical store have researching it online, up from 33 percent last year.

Overall, the numbers suggest that the trend toward online shopping is continuing, with 41 percent of digital users saying they have shopping more online and less at physical retail stores this year.

The biggest reason for doing more shopping online is convenience, with 44 percent saying this was their biggest motivator.

“Consumers want to be able to swipe smartphones to make purchases and want more in-store navigation smartphone apps,” Mr. Barr said.

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