8 in 10 Holiday Shoppers Buy Gifts With Their Smartphones
While most brand advertisers are putting the finishing touches on their holiday advertising campaigns, it’s not too late to understand how consumers are using their mobile devices as part of their holiday shopping experience. It’s important to look at which target audiences are mobile-first when it comes to purchase behavior, what they're buying, and the role their smartphones play in the entire customer journey.
In advance of this year’s holiday season, an in-depth study on the mobile habits of the holiday shopper uncovered trends in behavior. Here’s what those trends mean for retailers:
Mobile Shopping is on the Rise Among All Age Groups
The number of consumers who use their smartphones to make online purchases has increased 8 percent year-over-year, which isn't surprising given the general rising trend of smartphone usage. However, the survey found that 45 percent of respondents use their mobile device to shop “all of the time” compared to desktop, showing that it’s not just about more but rather instead.
Additionally, the majority (63 percent) of holiday shoppers are between 35 and 64 years old, but 22 percent are in the 14-17 age group. Gen Zers, being mobile natives, are extremely comfortable not only with researching and comparing products on their phones, but purchasing as well. As mobile payment systems become more ubiquitous (and more secure), we’ll see a swing from mere “purchase intent” to higher levels of mobile purchases, among all age groups.
The Customer Journey Has Become More Fluid
Traditionally, we’ve seen mobile devices being used as complements to the shopping experience. For example, consumers would use their phone to research via mobile websites or branded apps, and perhaps get ideas for gifts or validation from their peers on social media.
Consumers would then go in-store to purchase, bringing their phones as a shopping companion. Six out of 10 respondents think it’s important to have a mobile device while shopping in-store, primarily to research competitor prices (55 percent) and to receive discounts (46 percent). They're also taking pictures and looking up product reviews.
But consumers are also leaving the store without making a purchase — only to buy online from the same brand later on. We discovered that consumers will buy online (with 39 percent preferring in-app vs. mobile web) if they find a cheaper price or need a different size or color of an item.
This means mobile presence is no longer just about awareness and driving foot traffic in-store. While it's still essential to make a big splash around Black Friday to get consumers into your store(s), you must also account for those who prefer to buy digitally, at that moment or after their store visit.
Apparel, Home Goods Most Popular Categories
Among the 81 percent of holiday shoppers that said they've bought gifts for loved ones on their mobile device, clothes (43 percent) and home goods (20 percent) are the most popular items, well above books, event tickets and travel.
Fortunately, these are some of the easiest items for retailers to offer both online and in-store, simultaneously. A major home goods retailer focused on driving in-store foot traffic can do so in many ways, including ZIP code targeting and intent-based behavioral segments for a specific item (e.g., a lawnmower). In the Apparel and Restaurant categories, there was an average 14 percent lift in foot traffic thanks to these targeted campaigns.
Consumers Are Buying Directly From Ads, and Will Do More of it
Within the same ad experience that sends people in-store, you can include calls to action that drive conversion for those who are ready to buy. Rich media, banner ads or end cards that contain the opportunity to click to a landing page for a specific product can result in a purchase.
While more than half of respondents claim they have never bought something directly from an ad, 71 percent said they would if the product was relevant to them. With the right creative and targeting, brands can use mobile ads to convert viewers into customers. A great example is the shoppable video ad: while the video plays, everything in the ad is tappable to “add to cart.” Those items go directly into the user’s Amazon.com shopping cart and are ready for checkout as they move fluidly from the ad experience into their other favorite app, buying from a trusted source.
These are just a few of the insights discovered in the 2019 Holiday Shopping Survey. Overall, the best way to attract new customers is while they’re most happy, engaged and have time to spend money!
Gabriella Stano Aversa is manager, strategy and planning at AdColony, the highest quality mobile advertising and marketing platform.
Gabriella Stano Aversa is Manager, Strategy & Planning at AdColony, the highest quality mobile advertising and marketing platform.
Gabriella is an advertising professional with extensive knowledge in the mobile ad-tech industry. Her experience includes roles in strategy & partnerships, sales planning, account management and media planning, where she has cultivated personal growth in customer service, strategic thinking and problem-solving.
In her role at AdColony, Gabriella explores and manages prospective and current partnerships with third-party data, measurement, and verification partners to further enhance AdColony’s strategy and offerings. She also works with internal marketing & sales teams to develop new go-to-market strategies and tactical sales materials to drive revenue across the brand programmatic and managed service business.