Mobile Shopping Trends: Who, When and Where

Mobile Shopping Trends

Image from: Mobile Shopping / Shutterstock

Following up to the last post on mobile shopping which focused on the characteristics of mobile shoppers, we’ll now go into who consumers are shopping with, and when and where they are doing it. If you didn’t have a chance to read the last post, this data is based off of behavioral data from tens of thousand of mobile consumers which has been gathered by Millward Brown Digital, Kantar, and Lightspeed Research since October of 2012. This has allowed us to identify mobile shopping trends—with both the consumer and who the consumer interacts with.

Who are they shopping with?

When taking a look at our data, two trends, both good and bad, immediately begin to emerge. The first trend, one that brands engaged in ecommerce will find pleasing, is that mobile shoppers are more frequent visitors to ecommerce sites than their desktop counterparts.

Mobile Shopper Comparison

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As you can see in the chart below, mobile shoppers visit retail properties an average of 4.3 times per month. This is 48% higher than the typical desktop shopper who visits retail properties an average of 2.9 times per month. Taking a deeper dive into the data we can also see the difference between traditional brick and mortar sites and eTail pure plays like Amazon and eBay. Although pure play eTail merchants get the highest frequency in visits in both mobile and desktop, the gap is a lot more narrow. Where brick and mortar sites see a 93% higher visitation frequency with mobile, eTail pure plays only see a 31.8% greater visitation frequency (Tweet Stat!). This information alone should be enough justification to optimize for and push mobile—especially considering the continuing growth that eTail giants are showing and their ability to offer products at a lower price point.

Observed Visitation Frequency

One of the more concerning trends is the promiscuity that mobile shoppers show compared to desktop shoppers. While the majority (61%) of our mobile panelists didn’t visit a retailer site at all, those that did were more promiscuous, meaning that they visited other retailer sites, than the desktop shoppers that visited a retailer site.

Shopping Promiscuity by Channel

Shown in the chart above, you can see that with mobile, 20% of mobile shoppers visit four or more retailer sites per month. This is 82% higher than desktop shoppers (Tweet Stat!). Although some may conclude that there are more opportunities to reach the consumer, considering that one of the primary mobile shopping activities is price comparison, it is more likely that the promiscuity shown is due to shopping around on competitors’ sites.

When are they shopping?

No matter what type of ecommerce site you are, knowing what time of the week and what time of the day is best to reach the consumer is essential. Focusing your ad spend or pushing a mobile-centric campaign during a time when most consumers are on desktop will render your efforts less effective and decrease your potential reach.

Retail Visit Distribution by Time

Taking a look at the charts above and below, you can see that there are specific times when either mobile or desktop are dominant in regard to visits to retail sites. Although the findings are very intuitive, they are still very informative and may help justify additional ad spend during a certain time or day.

Retail Visit Distribution by Day of Week

With mobile, there is a focus towards the end of the week and the end of the day, indexing higher on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between the hours of 8 PM and 8 AM. This is another argument for dayparting your ad schedule, allowing us to conclude that mobile shopping is conducted during the weekend and during the week—the latter most likely being after dinner and as a second screen.

Where are they shopping?

Last, but certainly not least, is where consumers are engaging in mobile shopping. Separating the data between shopping conducted with a smartphone and shopping conducted with a tablet, we can already see trends emerge. As it might’ve been expected, smartphones are used in a higher variety of places where tablets are used primarily at home. Using the chart below, you can see that the proportion of tablet users that primarily conduct their mobile shopping at home is nearly double that of mobile. One thing that you may find surprising is the rate of in-store shopping for smartphones. This proves that although a lot of mobile shopping is performed in-store, it is only the primary location for 15% of consumers.

Distribution of Mobile Shopping Locations

Identifying mobile shopping trends to reach today’s consumer

Understanding today’s mobile shopper is only going to get more important as consumers move away from desktop-only online shopping to a more intertwined process that is multi-screen and multi-location. Fortunately, gathering competitive insights from the behavior of mobile users is made a lot easier with the use of Millward Brown Digital’s growing mobile panel. Already offering the largest consumer behavior panel of any other analytics firm, we have been working tirelessly to bring you some of the best mobile data available. For more information, be sure to contact us over at Millward Brown Digital.

About Zach Eberhart:
As a senior at Northeastern University, Zach Eberhart is thrilled to join the Compete team as the new Social Media / Marketing Co-op. Majoring in marketing and management information systems, Zach loves everything marketing and technology and has experience in both the agency and startup world. If you like what you read, you can connect with him on Google+ or LinkedIn.