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Report: Majority of time spent in online stores done with smartphones, tablets

October 1, 2013

Some online retailers have begun to position their mobile applications as companions to their online stores, allowing consumers to use the two in conjunction with one another.

Just a slight bit quote-heavy, but not too bad.

Some online retailers have begun to position their mobile applications as companions to their online stores, allowing consumers to use the two in conjunction with one another. Yet customers may be even more attached to their smartphones than most retailers expect – some individuals are even using them as their primary online shopping device.

More than half of all online shopping time logged during June was done through a smartphone or tablet, according to a recent report from comScore and The Partnering Group for Shop.org. Smartphones alone accounted for 44 percent of the minutes spent on internet retail websites, with tablets accounting for another 11 percent of the time. This is a stark increase from figures recorded during years past: smartphones were responsible for less than 20 percent of the time spent on internet retail websites during the same timeframe three years ago, illustrating the necessity of credit card mobile processing terminals for retailers in all sectors. 

“Since U.S. consumers now spend more than half of their time on retailers’ websites using their smartphones and tablets, mobile can’t be viewed simply as an ancillary device or action,  it now epitomizes how consumers think and act when they interact with retailers,” said Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org. “Retailers have to continue to invest to make sure they get their mobile offerings right, or will increasingly risk alienating customers and leaving significant money on the table.”

The retail industry is quickly becoming one of the most important parts of the mobile experience. Retail was one of the fastest growing areas of mobile content, growing by approximately 49 percent between June 2012 and June 2013, according to the report. During the second quarter of 2013, 35 percent of smartphone owners used their device to locate a store, and another 19 percent used their device to research product availability. The average shopper spent $97 on their smartphone through credit card terminals during the second quarter.

Changing the game for online and brick-and-mortar retailers
Virtual credit card terminals allow shoppers to buy products using only their phones and tablets – but many consumers are using their mobile devices in other ways, employing them as companions while they shop in brick-and-mortar store locations. 

A recent Maxymiser study found that 58 percent of respondents use their smartphone or tablet either on the way to physical retail locations, or while they’re shopping inside of a store. ComScore reached similar findings, noting that 57 percent of the respondents to their poll had used a company’s website or mobile application while shopping in their store.

“Retailers have an immediate opportunity to proactively encourage shoppers to use in-store Wi-Fi and engage with the retailer’s mobile-enabled websites and apps,” said Peter Leech, managing director of The Partnering Group. “It’s a big opportunity to capture those eyeballs before they seek an alternate source of product detail and pricing information on another retailer’s mobile offering.”

Smartphone users employ their phones while shopping in store locations for a number of different reasons. More than 90 percent of smartphone users who went to a retailer’s website while they were shopping did so to search for better prices. However, another 23 percent of shoppers used their device to take pictures of store items, and 17 percent used their phones to call family or friends to speak about about a specific product.

“Mobile is having a profound effect on how people engage with the retail experience today,” said Lynee Alves, director of retail solutions at comScore. “Not only are consumers using their mobile devices to engage more with retail sites and apps, they are also beginning to transact on these devices in a meaningful way. The m-commerce revolution is building momentum, and retailers must adapt to this new landscape if they are to succeed in this emerging channel.”

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