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How Mobile Helps Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

Holiday shoppers use mobile to check prices, look up store info

December 22, 2014 | Retail & Ecommerce

We’ve all heard about how mobile Black Friday and Cyber Monday were this year, but as Christmas nears—and last-minute shoppers try to avoid hefty overnight shipping fees, if a company even offers that—let us remind you that mobile is still, for the most part, a catalyst for sales captured elsewhere. Over the next few days, mobile will act as an important research tool for procrastinators before they rush to a store to grab that last dream gift, not as a purchase channel.

Ways in Which US Internet Users Have Used Their Smartphone/Tablet While Holiday Shopping, by Age, Dec 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

Just like their function for shopping throughout the year, mobile devices are far more useful for checking prices than charging purchases during the holidays. Polling conducted earlier this month by Market Track found that US internet users across age groups were more likely to have used their smartphone or tablet while holiday shopping to look up a price. This was most prevalent among dollar-conscious 20-somethings, with the majority saying they’d checked prices, but just 11% making a purchase. Interestingly, mobile purchasing among those in their 30s was higher, but still came in nearly 30 percentage points below the price-checker group.

Instead, mobile helps shoppers get started on holiday gift purchases prior to entering a brick-and-mortar. A September 2014 study by the e-tailing group found that looking up store information such as hours and location was the top way US digital shoppers would use their smartphone while holiday shopping, cited by 78%. Around three-quarters would look for coupons and promotions and check for sales and specials. In comparison, 50% said they’d actually buy gifts through their phone.

September 2014 polling Deloitte found that a high percentage, 68%, of US internet users were likely to webroom this holiday season—that is, go online to research a product and then purchase it at a physical store—and there’s no doubting that this will become even more popular as the days dwindle.

Don’t brush off mobile for last-minute holiday shopping just yet; instead, make sure what users find there will push them to choose your store.

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