Mobile devices becoming the U.S.'s favorite shopping tool, study says

today Nov 13, 2018
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Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the number one tool for U.S. consumers, according to a new report by market research company Growth from Knowledge (GfK).

The number of shoppers naming smartphones and tablets as some of their most important shopping tools increased 16 percent year over year. - Instagram: @westfieldcenturycity

In the company's 2018 FutureBuys report, GfK found that 45 percent of all polled American shoppers agreed that their smartphones and tablets are “quickly becoming [their] most important” shopping tools. This new statistic marks a 16 percent jump from a reported 29 percent of shoppers in the company's 2017 report. 

According to the study, 36 percent of shoppers said they use their mobile devices to compare prices when shopping. 30 percent of shoppers reported using their smartphones to gather product information, and an additional 30 percent said they use their devices to check product reviews. In addition, 23 percent of U.S. consumers reported shopping in-store and buying online.

While 48 percent of polled Americans said they can imagine a future "where traditional retail stores are not a big factor," GfK found that the rise of mobile shopping is mostly a matter of convenience which traditional retailers would be smart to combine with brick-and-mortar.

The company found that over half of those who bought online did so to save money at 52 percent, but 45 percent prioritized buying in-store to see the product before buying, while 44 percent said they bought in-person in order to have their purchase immediately.  

“The desire or need to shop is often spontaneous, and most consumers have their smartphones nearby at all times,” said Joe Beier, EVP of Consumer Insights at GfK. “So it is no surprise that mobile technology is playing a growing – and increasingly complex – role in shopper journeys [...] we should not see traditional retail as somehow pitted against the mobile element; often they work together – and those who can deliver a seamless experience will be more likely to capture the sale.”

GfK's 2018 FutureBuy study gathered information from over 35,000 consumers in over 35 countries, covering 18 product categories including home appliances, apparel, beauty and personal care. 

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