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Who’s Buying What on Mobile Devices?

January 30th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

What are Americans doing—and buying—on their mobile phones and tablets? Increasingly, they’re buying products and services. Among smartphone owners, a December survey of a sample of TechBargains.com visitors found 32 percent of women and 25 percent of men made half or more of their holiday purchases via mobile phones, reports Internet Retailer.

iPhone users were most likely to use smartphones to shop. Overall, 34 percent of iPhone users and 20 percent of Android users who made purchases with their phones said they did half or more of their holiday shopping on the phones.

While tablets are relatively new to the party compared to smartphones, they’re already slightly ahead of smartphones as a shopping tool. Among tablet owners, 35 percent of women and 21 percent of men in the survey said that half or more of their holiday purchases were made using tablets. And overall, 75 percent of respondents had made purchases on a tablet, compared to 58 percent who had done so on smartphones and 94 percent who have done so on laptops.

For those who shop with their phone:

  • 79 percent use the phone to research products,
  • 77 percent to compare prices, and
  • 73 percent to browse stores.

Of the 58 percent of shoppers who make purchases via their mobile devices:

  • 69 percent use both the mobile browser and apps to buy products,
  • 18 percent only use apps, and
  • 13 percent only use a mobile browser.

What were users buying on mobile phones?

  • 70 percent of shoppers purchased digital goods,
  • 60 percent purchased physical merchandise,
  • 46 percent purchased services, and
  • 38 percent purchased consumable goods.

Of the 75 percent of tablet owners who use their devices to make purchases:

  • 90 percent use tablets to browse stores,
  • 89 percent research products, and
  • 85 percent compare prices.

The iPad has the edge in mobile shopping with 86 percent of iPad 2 owners making purchases via their tablets. However, despite being brand new, the Kindle Fire is close behind, with 74 percent of users making purchases via their devices.

What about people who aren’t using their mobile phones to buy? Of those, 42 percent of men and 38 percent of women said security concerns kept them from buying on the device, while 54 percent of men and 59 percent of women cited problems in completing purchases. Want to capture shoppers’ mobile dollars? Make sure your security is airtight (and that you promote and explain this to users), and make sure your process is simple and easy to use.

Image by Flickr user Charantan Patnaik (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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