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What Are Shoppers Buying on Their Smartphones?

September 17th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

As we gear up for the holiday shopping season, mobile shopping is one of the hottest trends to watch. Almost 90 percent of mobile users report either regularly or occasionally researching products on a smartphone or tablet, according to recent research from Prosper Mobile Insights. Two-thirds regularly or occasionally make purchases on a mobile device.

What products are mobile shoppers most likely to buy? While some of them are obvious (ringtones) others might surprise you.

  • Apparel: 29.9 percent
  • Entertainment (CDs/DVDs/Books): 23 percent
  • Ringtones or other media for device: 20.1 percent
  • Small ticket electronics: 19.5 percent
  • Beauty products: 14.6 percent
  • Big ticket electronics: 10.4 percent
  • Home décor: 8.8 percent
  • Appliances: 7.9 percent

Apparel (40.5 percent) is the most popular category users research on a mobile device, followed by big ticket electronics (38.7 percent) and small electronics (37.8 percent).

What determines whether shoppers buy on a mobile device or through another method?

  • Price: 52.4 percent
  • The security of the site/app: 51.8 percent
  • The type of item being purchased: 50.0 percent
  • The form of payment (credit/debit/other account): 47.0 percent
  • The reputation of the site/app: 45.1 percent
  • How easy the site/app is to use: 41.8 percent

If you hope to compete with big ecommerce sites like Amazon.com, which offer all of the above, you need to make sure your site is secure, easy to use and offers a range of payment options to suit all kinds of consumers.

What items wouldn’t consumers buy via a mobile device? The answer is mixed. About 40 percent say they would never buy big-ticket electronics or furniture with a smartphone or tablet, but 37.8 percent say they’d consider purchasing any type of product via mobile.

Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director at BIGinsight, compares it to the early years of ecommerce, when a sizable proportion of consumers were scared to buy online.  “We expect the same for the growth of m-commerce: starting small, but once consumers find their comfort zones, mobile shopping will become a viable buying channel for a substantial proportion of the population.”

With a sizable percentage of consumers already buying by mobile, the trend is only going to grow. So if your ecommerce business isn’t already mobile-friendly, you’d better get moving—before your customers move elsewhere.

Image by Flickr user www.metaphoricalplatypus.com (Creative Commons)

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

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