How are consumers shopping today? While retailers are struggling to provide a “unified shopping experience,” shoppers are handling things pretty well for themselves.
“Consumers don’t think about online or offline—they’re shopping,” according to a new eMarketer report, “Omnichannel Trends 2015: Mobile Is the New Retail Hub.”
True, the overwhelming majority of retail purchases are executed in stores, but the purchasing process “increasingly flows through smartphones.” While not a significant factor for items like groceries or packaged goods (the staples that require little research), everything else consumers want to investigate can be researched online in advance.
“Mobile is the catalyst for sales captured elsewhere,” explains eMarketer. “(We) estimate that there were 145.9 million mobile shoppers in the US this year, up 23 million from 2013. Only about half of smartphone shoppers, however, will buy anything on their phones. In 2015, we expect mobile to account for only 1.6 percent of total US retail sales.”
Smartphones are seemingly the prelude to plunking down money. While only 14 percent of U.S. smartphone owners said they planned to make a purchase on such devices during the holiday season, they do use their phones to find a local retailer (39 percent), get social feedback on a potential gift (38 percent), or find a coupon in-store (33 percent).
Interestingly, in-store mobile use crosses all age groups. An April comScore report revealed that 35 percent of U.S. internet users “showroomed,” including about half of Millennials and an amazing 28 percent of seniors 65 and up.