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Shopping via Mobile: Top Item Categories, Buying Influencers


Almost nine in ten mobile users (88.1%) say they regularly or occasionally research products via their smartphone or tablet, and nearly two in three (66.5%) regularly or occasionally purchase products via the mobile channel, according to a survey from Prosper Mobile Insights.

Among the mobile users surveyed, many factors influence the decision to purchase via the mobile channel; however, product price and the security of the website or app are among the most important, the study found.

Below, additional findings from Prosper Mobile Insights.

Among the shoppers* surveyed, those who have shopped at Best Buy in the previous 90 days are most likely to regularly research and purchase products via a mobile device (50.5%), followed by those who have visited Amazon (46.4%).

Most Popular Item Categories

Mobile shoppers are most likely to have bought apparel (29.9%), entertainment items (e.g., CDs and DVDs) (23.2%), ringtones (20.1%), and small ticket electronics (e.g., DVD player, tablet) (19.5%) in the prvious 90 days. Moreover, one in ten mobile users (10.4%) say they've purchased big ticket electronics such as TVs via their smartphone or tablet:

Apparel (40.5%) is also the most popular category to research via mobile device, followed by big ticket electronics (38.7%) and smaller gadgets (37.8%). Although only 7.9% of mobile users say they've purchased an appliance via smartphone or tablet in the previous 90 days, some 31.7% say they've researched those household electronics via mobile.

Considerations for Mobile Purchases

Not surprisingly, price is a major deciding factor when choosing whether to purchase an item via a mobile device. The security of the site or application and the type of item are nearly as relevant .

Mobile users cite the following as their most important considerations when making a mobile purchase:

  • Price of an item: 52.4%
  • Security of the site/app: 51.8%
  • Type of item being purchased: 50.0%
  • Form of payment (credit/debit/other account): 47.0%
  • Reputation of the site/app: 45.1%
  • How easy the site/app is to use: 41.8%

"In the early years of e-commerce, many consumers were hesitant to click the ‘purchase’ button, but we can all agree the convenience of buying online has grown on us," said Pam Goodfellow, director of Consumer Insights at BIGinsight.

"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 substantial proportion of the population."

*For this analysis, shoppers are defined as those who said they shopped at a particular retailer in the past 90 days. Select retailers profiled include Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.

About the data: Findings are from a mobile survey of smartphone and tablet users from the SSI (Survey Sampling International) Panel who completed the survey using their devices, August 21-24, 2012.

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