Smartphone Use Grows for Offline Shopping logoLocal Corp. has come out with a new report documenting how consumers use smartphones and multiple channels in the online-to-offline purchase process. The data are based on a survey of roughly 1,000 consumers conducted by the e-tailing Group in August 2013.

Many of the findings cover familiar territory. However they help reinforce the following ideas:

  • Consumers heavily use digital media and mobile devices in particular before buying locally
  • Consumer shopping is highly complex and “multi-channel”
  • Traditional retailers and marketers now must think in an “omnichannel” way or lose sales

Screenshot 2013-09-30 at 10.55.23 AM

Device usage for pre-purchase research has increased since last year — and smartphone based research in particular. This is likely a function of “on the go” and in-store smartphone usage.

The following chart reflects what consumers do on smartphones while in stores. Similar to other studies, essentially look for coupons/offers, check prices, product reviews and related product information.

In-store activities

The graphic below reflects how survey respondents regard the role of local stores in the purchase process. Overall people continue to have a preference for in-store shopping, but increasingly use digital assets (esp. smartphones) to augment that offline experience and get more information about the products they’re considering.

Screenshot 2013-09-30 at 11.09.26 AM

Another point that the survey and report make is that consumers clearly want and need more information from the internet and from retailers than they’re currently getting. The following are the information needs/desires and specific capabilities survey respondents said they wanted in “cross-channel conveniences”:

What consumers want from digital

This survey and others before it make clear that consumers now move fluidly between channels and devices. While the majority wind up buying in stores they see digital media and mobile devices as an integral, even “organic” part of the process now.

As I’ve written before the value of online-influenced offline shopping is at least 10X the size of e-commerce — and getting bigger. In-store smartphone usage is now routine (discover the full implications of this at next week’s Place Conference.)

I’ve just scratched the surface of the data in the report. There’s a great deal more information (and nuanced information) than I’ve covered above.

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