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Shoppers flock to smartphones - and not just for research

24 August 2016 - 16:29 by Paul Tissington

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Almost two fifths of consumers see their mobile phone as the primary means by which they can carry out research on a particular product before deciding to purchase it, according to a new survey from xAd.

Meanwhile almost a third of those questioned said that their handset of choice is now the only platform they rely upon when looking up items to see whether or not they are worthy of consideration.

56 per cent of people now complete a purchase via safe shopping online within the first 60 minutes of beginning their research. And because of this, the power of smartphones to influence consumers is growing at a rapid rate, making it more important than ever for retailers to cater to mobile shoppers.

Two thirds of respondents said that they had completed a transaction using their mobile, contrasting sharply with historical omnichannel models in which consumers did the research while on the move before using a desktop or laptop computer to finalise the purchase.

With larger screens becoming common, mobiles are starting to edge tablets and other devices out of the market, meaning they are not just ideal for quick research, but can be used throughout the consumer journey as safe shopping online continues to evolve.

Of course many other studies have highlighted the fact that even with skyrocketing mobile use, many retailers have yet to optimise their sites to be fully compatible with modern devices and work well across a range of competing platforms.

An inherent lack of loyalty amongst tech-savvy consumers means that companies have a limited window in which to hold onto customers. Clunky, poorly designed sites or checkout processes simply serve to elevate cart abandonment rates. And with surveys like this, it is becoming clearer that mobiles are essential during research and purchase, both online and in store.