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Mobile Shoppers Use Devices to Research Local Business

Posted on 4.30.2013

Two of the biggest mobile and local companies on the Web, xAd and Telmetrics, have once again teamed up to conduct their second annual Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study, which reveals that consumers are using their searching on their mobile devices earlier and more often for relevant information about local businesses, products and/or services.

Culled from an online survey of over 2000 U.S. smartphone and tablet users and compiled by Nielson, this year’s Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study found that mobile is already starting to challenge and almost overtake desktop computers as a user’s primary media resource, as apparently 45 percent of users will turn to their mobile devices first, while 49 percent still use their PCs as their primary media resources.

Moreover, about 54 percent of respondents said they use “additional media sources” to aid in their purchasing decisions, while 46 percent said they exclusively used mobile devices as their primary research tools. Basically, the study found that about half of all mobile users rely on their devices at the beginning of the “research process,” and about one-third of them continue using it throughout the whole purchasing cycle.

However, for most mobile shoppers, local relevancy seems to be the biggest influencer in their purchase selections, as they cited things like location, local offers and promotions as their biggest reasons for making a purchase. About one-third of smartphone users and one-fourth of tablet users reference their devices to specifically find a local business’s contact information, such as a phone number, address or driving directions. In fact, about 60 percent expect businesses to be within walking or “local driving” distance for some reason.

But the good news for all online retailers is that mobile users across various categories showed a high percentage (60 percent for smartphone users and 53 percent for tablet users) of completed purchases related to their mobile activity. However, 53 percent of mobile users are actually making their purchases offline or in-store, although this is more common with smartphones than tablets.

In addition, the Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study found that most (57 percent) searchers go directly to a branded app or website, but that discovery methods vary more on tablet devices, and that nearly 60 percent of mobile users (and 80 percent of tablet users) said they actually use their devices at home, rather than on the go.

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