Mobile devices are crucial for back to school shopping

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

As we near the end of summer, the AdColony team look at the results of the company's annual Back to School Shopping Survey. 

Summer is winding down, which means students are prepping for the new school year. Technology has already changed the way consumers shop, but the current pandemic has really made an impact on back to school shopping this year. While students and parents are prepping for a different kind of school year, mobile continues to play a big role in the shopping process.

To better understand the changing school year, AdColony conducted its annual Back to School Shopping Survey. The second edition provides insights into what consumers in the United States are buying during back to school shopping, online shopping preferences, and the effectiveness of mobile ads. AdColony has shared its top insights from the survey.

Smartphone is still the preferred device to do back to school shopping but more consumers are using computers and tablets this year. The share of shoppers who prefer desktop/laptop and tablet has increased by 6 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. Shopping on a mobile device is the most convenient option while on-the-go, but since most people are still spending most of their time at home, they have access to their other devices to make purchases.

Mobile devices are a crucial part of the in-store shopping experience. More than half of respondents use their smartphones to research competitor prices and look up product prices while shopping in-store. Other ways people used their phones were to receive discounts or take pictures for future reference.

Back to school shoppers can be receptive to mobile ads so long as the content is relevant. 55 per cent of respondents said they have purchased something directly from a mobile ad which has gone up slightly since our 2019 edition of the survey. However, 76 per cent of respondents said they would purchase from a mobile ad if the product were relevant. Advertisers should keep in mind that mobile ads can be really effective with the right targeting and placed in the right context.

Most consumers go to online-only sites for back to school shopping. When shopping online for back to school supplies, the top choice is online-only retailers like Amazon. Not far behind are retailers’ websites like Target, Best Buy, and Staples. Even though shoppers prefer to buy on their smartphones, only 26% of respondents preferred to access retailers’ mobile apps. Retailers should consider offering exclusive discounts or promotions on their apps to gain more engagement and purchases on that platform.

Download the full Back to School Shopping Survey report here.