Smartphones Now Influence $159 Billion in In-Store Retail Sales

Indicative of the growing extent to which individuals are "always connected," smartphones now influence 5.1% of annual retail sales, which translates into forecast sales of $159 billion for 2012, according to new research from Deloitte.
Deloitte says its in-depth survey and study, "The Dawn of Mobile Influence," is the first to measure the "mobile influence factor"-- the impact mobile phones are having on in-store retail sales.
Deloitte's so-called "mobile influence factor" refers to shoppers using their smartphones to research products, shop for deals and compare prices and offerings online while out shopping in the physical world.
The influence of smartphones on shoppers' in-store decision-making is only going to increase, Deloitte expects, reaching 19%, some $689 billion, of total store sales by 2016. Direct mobile sales, by comparison, will exceed $30 billion by that time, according to industry estimates, Deloitte notes.
"Mobile devices' influence on retail store sales has passed the rate at which consumers purchase through their devices today," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail & distribution sector leader.
"Consumers' store-related mobile activities are contributing to - not taking away from - in-store sales, and our research indicates that smartphone shoppers are 14 percent more likely to convert and make a purchase in the store than non-smartphone users. This means that mobile is an important tool for retailers to incrementally drive traditional in-store sales, strengthening the relationship between retailer and consumer to increase engagement and loyalty."
Deloitte's retail & distribution practice and Deloitte Digital conducted an in-depth survey of U.S. consumers' use of smartphones while out shopping. Some 48% of smartphone owners surveyed said using their smartphones has influenced their in-store purchase decisions, with smartphone usage tending to be highest at or near the point-of-purchase.
More than 6-in-10 smartphone owners who use their mobile devices to shop have done so while out in stores shopping. More than half (52%) use their mobile phones on the way to the store.
It appears that shoppers who use their smartphones while in the act are more likely to make purchases than those who don't, according to Deloitte. Some 72% of smartphone owners surveyed reported they made a purchase the last time they were out shopping and using their mobile devices compared with 63% of those who said they hadn't used a mobile phone while out shopping.
Smartphone owners were also more likely to eventually make a purchase: 59% of those who used a smartphone but didn't buy anything on their last shopping outing did wind up making one. That compares to 22% of those who eventually did but hadn't used their smartphone while out shopping.
Shoppers are increasingly making use of mobile apps to assist them, Deloitte found: 37% of smartphone owners surveyed who used a smartphone on their last shopping trip made use of a third-party mobile shopping app, while 34% used a retailer's mobile app.
Younger shoppers are the most influenced by mobile shopping apps and services, suggesting that retailers' core customers will increasingly be making use of smartphones to assist with their shopping as they age. Some 67% smartphone owners between 14-34 have used their devices to shop, while 55% reported that using their smartphones has influenced their purchase decisions.

Written by Kevin Kutcher at 09:30
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