93.6% of all American smartphone owners use their mobile in the shop, but most of the time this is not to compare prices at other stores. They do go to the website of the shop they are in: the danger of the smartphone for shopkeepers is exaggerated, say researchers of trade magazine JiWire after quite a small survey.
Smartphone advantage to heighten shopping experience
Smartphones in shops seem to be used to improve the shopping experience: 37.5% of American men and 35.5% of women in the survey use them to go to the website of the shop they are visiting to see more, to know more and to experience more than they are already doing offline. With this in mind, shopkeepers best make their websites accessible for smartphones.
Showrooming, where customers use their mobile phone to see if another shop is cheaper, however occurs far less than feared. Only 19.6% of women and 15.2% of men admit to doing this, while 59.3% of men and 54.2% of women do use their phone to look up extra information about a product. 63.9% of women and 59.1% of men use their smartphone or tablet to compare prices, while 56.2% of women and 41.8% of men check if they can get discounts or deals in the shop where they are at.
Men in electronics shops, women in fashion shops
The use of a smartphone as a source of information also depends on the type of shop: in electronics stores the device will be used twice as often as in other businesses. Fashion shops are a close second. There are also differences between genders: men use their smartphone more often in electronics stores (50.1%) and in shops selling large products, while women do so in clothing shops (32.7%) and at the restaurant.
In shopping centres men are also more prone to use their smartphone: men do so 15.1% of the time, compared to 13.6% with women. In clothing stores only 21.9% of men use their phone to do research. At the restaurant 16.3% of women do some extra research and only 12.9% of American men.
Wi-Fi influences purchasing behaviour
The research of JiWire also pointed out that the presence of wireless internet can play an important role in retail, because 79.5% of smartphone users say the presence of an internet connection influences their purchasing behaviour. 48.1% said free Wi-Fi always is an important factor when choosing a shopping location, another 31.4% says this is sometimes the case.
It is remarkable that this trend has penetrated all age groups: 44.4% of people above 55 and 48.1% of people below 21 consciously choose for a location with Wi-Fi.
Laptops still used in hotels
The use of smartphones and tablets has risen significantly: in the last twelve months the use of these devices at locations with free public Wi-Fi has risen by 53%. Tablets were used 58% more, smartphones 50%. The use of laptops at these locations dropped by 32%.
Smartphones and tablets take up 58% of all public usage of Wi-Fi, leaving only 42% for laptops. In a year’s time their share dropped by 12.5%. In libraries (60%) and hotels (50%) laptops do a little better. Tablets are most often used in places of travel, such as airports (24%) and hotels (20%). Smartphones do well at restaurants (78%), hospitals (66%), shopping centres (55%) and cafés (55%), where they are more convenient to use than their much larger siblings.
Increasing number of mobile payments
Meanwhile mobile devices are not only used to look up information, but also for making payments. Mobile payments rose by 38% over the last year with the group of Americans surveyed. At the end of 2011 37% of users used their smartphone or tablet to make payments, a year later their number has increased to 51%.
Especially PayPal is doing well: In the United States it is used three times more often than Google Wallet. 32% of surveyed consumers had made a payment via PayPal in the past thirty days, compared to only 10% through Google Wallet. Amazon Payments squeezes nicely in between with 20%.
A year ago PayPal was at 23%, Amazon Payments at 14% and Google Wallet at 9%. This means that Google is losing ground on its competitors, but maybe they can profit from late adopters: 11% of mobile users say they do not know what a mobile wallet is.
All these numbers were taken from the newest Mobile Audience Insights Report of Jiwire, which is based on a survey of 1400 consumers in the United States, researching the influence the availability of Wi-Fi at shops.
Do you wish to know more about mobile in retail? At the RetailDetail Congress “Switch or Die” on 25 April 2013 you can learn more about the changing/changed consumer behaviour.