Smartphone Usage in Stores- A Deep Dive

Smartphone Usage in Stores- A Deep Dive

August 26, 2019

Thanks to mobile devices, on-the-go shoppers have access to information when and where they need it. Today, 89% of adults have access to a mobile device, and many are being used in-store while shopping.

In our latest wave of the Mobile Technology Monitor™, we examined how often adults use mobile devices in-store while shopping for a product or service. According to the results, 45% of adults use mobile devices in-store often, or every time they shop. This kind of behavior is even more prevalent among females and individuals that fall in the Millennial (23-38) or Gen X (39-54) generational categories.


Bar chart showing the demographics of smartphone users while shopping.


Price Lookup and Finding Deals Dominate

The most common activities on smartphones while shopping in stores are to look up product information (50%) or look for coupons/deals (49%). Using shopping lists (38%) and looking at product reviews or information (33%) came in third and fourth.

For retailers, this means embracing digital technology and having enough information online and offline to meeting shopper expectations.

In-store, this could take the shape of informational POS signage or kiosks, and interactive displays. Having a trained and knowledgeable staff equipped with mobile devices of their own can also make retail stores stand out. With mobile technology on hand, store associates can provide customers with product availability information, as well as process online orders of out-of-stock items and transact mobile payments.

Online, just having a general presence is no longer enough. Being mobile-enabled is critical. This means having a mobile app and providing compelling, personalized content and information when the shopper needs it. The study also found that 44% of shoppers use store apps while in-store to find product and service information. This highlights the importance of having mobile capabilities.


Chart showing activities adults do on their mobile phones while shopping.


Peer Recommendations Are Important

For the modern shopper, product reviews, and other types of consumer-generated content are more influential than ever. Nearly a third of all shoppers will seek out opinions from friends and family when trying to make a purchase decision.

This highlights the importance of having product or service ratings and reviews for retailers. An informed shopper is a happy shopper — and the more trusted content retailers can make available to shoppers, the more educated and empowered a shopper will feel about purchasing their products.


Younger Generations Are More Likely To Purchase Products On a Mobile Device

To no surprise, younger generations are more likely to use mobile devices in-store, but they are also more likely just to purchase the product through their phone while in the store. Nearly one-third of Millennials and twenty percent of Gen Xers stated they do this. The vast majority purchased the product or service from another store due to price differences. This makes it essential for retailers to have a price matching program or offer in-store incentives as the shoppers are trying to make a decision.


Mobile is a Critical Marketing Component

Results from our latest wave of research show the importance that mobile plays in the new path to purchase. For retailers that are committed to enhancing the consumer experience, they will continue to adjust their mobile strategies as technology evolves. Those that don’t will get left behind.




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