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Thanks to mobile devices, consumers now start researching retail products way before they step into a store to buy, according to a June 2014 study by Ninth Decimal. The research found that 81% of US mobile users turned to their devices to research retail items at home or work—meaning before heading to a brick-and-mortar—while 19% engaged with mobile during a shopping trip.
The average lead time for researching retail products via mobile among smartphone and tablet users varied by cost, with research for items priced at $1,000 or more starting 45 days in advance of buying, on average. Even for the lowest price range though, $1 to $49, research typically began about 10 days before the purchase was completed.
Likely a result of their out-of-store research habits, mobile users were most likely to engage with mobile retail ads before they shopped, cited by 73% of respondents. In comparison, the remaining 27% were more apt to respond to ads on their mobile devices while on a shopping trip or in-store.
Retailers serving ads that include discounts and sales may stand the best chance at grabbing mobile researchers’ attentions. Fully 60% of mobile device users said they were likely to respond to retail-related mobile ads that contained information about discounts and sales, the most popular response by a long shot. Product reviews (36%) and product information (35%) rounded out the top three.
The opportunity to reach mobile retail researchers is huge. According to eMarketer, there will be 145.9 million US mobile shoppers this year. Among this group, which includes mobile users ages 14 and older who use their mobile device to browse, research or compare products via mobile web or app, nearly 70% will make a mobile purchase.
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