The 2013 holiday shopping season proved again and again that consumers are making mobile commerce a part of their lives.
Studies of consumer behavior during the holiday season have noted increases in consumer usage of smart phones and/or tablets for holiday shopping—and not just for actual sales transactions. Consumers are scanning bar and QR codes, checking prices, obtaining coupons and generally seeking better deals at every step of their shopping trip—while in-store and before and after they enter a brick-and-mortar establishment .
A report by San Jose-based Baynote summed it up: “Mobile is the new normal.”
New York-based Scanbuy, Inc., a mobile engagement provider that offers end-to-end solutions for both consumers and businesses, reported last week that it processed nearly 10.4 million mobile bar code and Near Field Communication (NFC) scans between November 22 and December 31, 2013, an eye-opening increase of 33 percent over the 2012 holiday season.
Scanbuy’s periodic trend reports analyze traffic on its own ScanLife mobile app, which it says is the world’s most popular mobile engagement app. For its 2013 holiday trend report, the company noted that it analyzed a statistically significant sample of all the scans generated from its mobile products.
Some of revelations of the Scanbuy analysis included:
- The most popular content categories accessed in mobile engagement campaigns were application downloads, discounts and sweepstakes.
- Industries that drew the most scans were high-tech and retail.
- Some 56 percent of the scans came from Apple iOS devices, while 42 percent came from Android OS devices.
- Some 63 percent of users were men and 37 percent were women.
- The largest number of users (25 percent) fell into in the 35-44 age range, with 23-34 year-olds in second place with 22 percent of the scans. Users aged 45-54 accounted for 19 percent of scans; those 55 and over accounted for 15 percent, and those aged 18-24 were responsible for 12 percent of the scans tracked in the survey.
Baynote’s report, also released last week, offered insights from its survey of 1000 smartphone-owning shoppers who were about their experiences during the 2013 holiday season. The survey was taken December 3 – 6, 2013 and was conducted in conjunction with the eTailing Group.
Baynote, which describes itself as a provider of personalized customer experience solutions for multi-channel marketers, surveyed a wide range of consumer shopping behavior, but devoted a special section of its report to mobile commerce. It found that:
- Some 62 percent of respondents used their smart phones in-store to compare prices, up from 46 percent in 2012.
- Some 61 percent redeemed coupons in-store via phone, up from 45 percent in 2012.
- Some 58 percent used their phones to look at product ratings before visiting a store, up from 45 percent in 2012.
- Some 45 percent scanned bar codes while in a store to check prices at another store, up from 39 percent in 2012.
Another report that surely reflects the holiday’s shopping trends but covers a broader time period was IBM’s final update on year-end online sales. The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which examines online shopping behavior, released its fourth quarter 2013 report in early January. The report noted that:
- Mobile traffic accounted for 35 percent of online traffic during the fourth quarter of the year, up 40 percent from the same period in 2012.
- Actual mobile sales (not just traffic) accounted for 16.6 percent of all online sales, up a full 46 percent over fourth quarter 2012.
At this rate, in a few years we’ll wonder how we ever shopped without our mobile devices.