The new wave of 'always-on' mobile consumers are making purchasing decisions faster than ever before, new research has suggested, with 29 per cent using just their mobile phone to come to a decision.
The study by location intelligence firm xAd looked into how consumers' relationships with smartphones and physical location affected their purchase behaviour and decisions, and highlighted a number of key findings.
Smartphones are increasingly important as both a research and purchase tool, with 39 per cent of consumers considering them the most important research tool (up from 19 per cent in 2013). However, this varies from sector to sector – quick service restaurants rely most heavily on mobile, with 51 per cent saying it's the most important research tool, and 40 per cent using mobile exclusively.
When using a smartphone, finding a retail location and checking pricing information are the most common tasks, with 36 per cent of consumers preferring to buy in-store following research on mobile, compared to 35 per cent who buy on mobile.
People are making their mind up to buy quickly and becoming more impatient once they have done so, with 56 per cent of consumers making purchasing decisions immediately or within an hour of researching on mobile.
43 per cent of those using mobile for retail research purposes expect businesses found on smartphones to be within driving distance, and 20 per cent expect them to be within one mile.
Despite this speed of decision making, bricks-and-mortar stores still matter. 57 per cent of respondents still visited retail locations as part of research before making important purchasing decisions. This is especially true for automotive, where 64 per cent of consumers will visit dealerships without having made a final decision on a brand.
"Mobile allows advertisers to merge the online and offline worlds and enhance the customer experience throughout the consumer journey," said Jonathan Mew, chief operating officer for the IAB UK. "Consumers researching products and services while on-the-go demonstrate a great deal of intent to purchase and to purchase quickly – and smartphones allow marketers to reach these people in these moments."
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