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Report: Majority of consumers use mobile to shop


The increasing use of smartphones has drastically impacted the consumer's path to purchase — and the momentum continues.

Most online U.S. consumers (60%) now use mobile technology for shopping, and two thirds (67%) searched online for additional product information, according to “The Consumer Technology Association's (CTA) Path to Purchase Using Mobile Devices Market Research report.”

The study, which is based on responses from 1,009 U.S. adults between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3, 2016, reveals how smartphones are changing the path to purchase. For example, during the 2016 holiday season, U.S. online consumer spending via mobile devices almost doubled — increasing 45% to $20.1 billion.

Factors driving mobility are shoppers’ demand for accessible, convenient content during their shopping journey. Consumers also seek value, exclusivity and authenticity, as well as personalized content and deals based on location, all of which mobile devices can provide.

Interestingly, the report said that most shoppers are choosing to receive these details via mobile-optimized websites over apps, and more than 90% of mobile device owners subscribed to at least one subscription that helps them to actively seek alerts to offers and sales.

Mobility is also playing a role at store-level. With 61% of purchases made in-store, 29% of consumers use devices to search for product information while shopping in-store.

"Every step of the consumer's path to purchase has dramatically changed with the use of smartphones, from triggering interest in considering technology products to purchase and sometimes post purchase behavior that includes posting online reviews," said Steve Koenig, senior director, market research, CTA. "The retail market continues to change with the innovations associated with smartphone technologies -- such as location-based services and apps -- creating new opportunities for both brick-and-mortar and online retailers to meet the changing needs of consumers."

Among shoppers making online purchases, 51% are made via online-only retailer websites, such as Amazon or Newegg, rather than with online-only retailer apps (24%), or multichannel retailer websites or apps. Seventy-six percent (76%) of consumers use existing online accounts to make a purchase; the remaining use guest checkout options or sign up for a new account.

While smartphones offer quick access to information, some shoppers do say using a phone in-store is distracting. In fact, despite high ownership of mobile devices, 41% of consumers still use a desktop or laptop to assist in shopping, the study reported.

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