Half of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices for price comparisons while shopping, according to new research from GfK. Today’s mobilized consumers seek to be highly informed, Mobile Marketing Daily reports, and are using mobile devices to achieve a sense of empowerment over the purchase process. Many shoppers are using their mobile devices to perform research, gather recommendations and seek out the best prices, as well as to make purchases. The GfK report, based on 1,088 interviews conducted in March 2012, states that 44 percent of shoppers are looking for coupon opportunities on their devices, 17 percent have purchased a product via mobile platforms, and one third of smartphone or tablet owners have “liked” a retail brand on Facebook. About one quarter of survey respondents said they have scoped out products in brick and mortar venues and then made the actual purchases online using their smartphones.
GfK’s research reportedly found that industries impacted by the mobile trend include food and beverage, health and beauty, lawn and garden, and bigger ticket items. The trend is strongest among 18 to 34 year olds, with 34 percent saying they use a smartphone or tablet to engage in shopping, compared to 10 percent of 50 to 65 year olds. Owners of smartphones and tablets reportedly said they feel more in control of the shopping experience than ever before, because mobile devices help them choose the best products, shop more efficiently, and find a broader range of information sources. This shift in shopping habits presents an opportunity for retailers to deepen relationships by facilitating the learning process, GfK stresses. Retailers who help consumers achieve greater efficiencies may benefit in the long run, because using mobile devices to enhance the shopping experience will be typical in years to come.