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Shoppers have become increasingly comfortable using the smartphone or tablet to browse retailer offerings, look for discounts and compare products—whether on the go or on the couch. For moms especially, who tend to lead shopping and mobile trends, the use of these smart devices may have reached the tipping point: Mobile has become more than a nice accessory to augment the shopping process; it has become an essential stop in the path to purchase.
According to a December 2012 survey conducted by women’s mobile network Alt12, which surveyed US moms who used the network’s apps, fully 70% reported using their smartphone or tablet to shop. An even more staggering one-third of moms said the devices accounted for nearly half their shopping time or more.
Those figures represent steep growth from 2011, with more than nine in 10 moms shopping significantly more via smartphone or tablet compared with the previous year.
When browsing, the majority of moms surveyed, 60%, reported that retailer apps were the most popular apps to help them make purchase decisions. The findings suggest that retailers who resist designing an app, or who have not invested heavily in one, are likely to see themselves at a major competitive disadvantage.
Also noteworthy, nearly half of moms said they used social networking apps when deciding what to purchase, a reminder of the important role social plays in most moms’ lives and its increasing entwinement with mobile access.
Product review apps and deal site apps were also popular, but by a significantly fewer one out of five respondents each.
While mobile has become moms’ favored shopping assistant, moms nonetheless trust each other first and foremost. Reviews and ratings from other moms were the most important overall factor when making a purchase decision for nearly half of moms (and relatedly, another 9% cited recommendations from other moms as critically important). Convenience ranked second, cited as the most important factor by about one-quarter of moms.
eMarketer estimates that there will be 83.1 million mcommerce shoppers on tablets in the US by the end of 2013 and 100 million on smartphones. Moms will account for a substantial percentage of these mobile users, and their behaviors will lead trends among other demographics.
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