Location & Lifestyle Key Drivers for the Mobile Path to Purchase in UK, U.S.

While marketers continue to covet U.S. mobile users for their wallet share, many North American local search companies are now pursuing the lucrative UK mobile consumer audience as well.

Mobile advertisers spend more per UK mobile consumer than anywhere else in the world, eMarketer reported.

Tailoring mobile ad strategies to reflect each country’s distinct mobile user populations is more important than ever. This includes considering varying search patterns, timing, and device usage – many of which are impacted by lifestyle differences.

The recent xAd-Telmetrics UK Mobile Path-to-Purchase research study – a complement to the annual U.S. study – noted relevant findings in comparing both countries’ results. These included strong purchase intent among UK and U.S. mobile users and the significant role that location, research, and lifestyle play in mobile purchase decisions.

Location High Priority, but for Different Reasons

Location greatly influences both U.S. and UK mobile searchers’ purchase behaviors, according to both studies. For example, up to 47 percent of UK searchers and up to 73 percent of U.S. mobile users look for a business’ phone number, which indicates high interest in location. However, close proximity is more important in the UK, as 12 percent of mobile UK searchers (vs. 8 percent in the U.S.) expect search locations to be within walking distance.

Additionally, almost 15 percent of UK mobile users search outside and nearly 10 percent from public transit – this is up to three times higher than in the U.S. population where the most popular on-the-go location is in the car. This echoes common lifestyle differences between the countries including heavier reliance on cars in the U.S.

Since local relevance is a high priority for mobile users in both geographies, advertisers that include local cues like location information and phone numbers in mobile ad campaigns can positively influence purchase decisions on both sides of the pond.

Research focus areas also differ between the two countries’ mobile users – UK mobile searchers cite price comparisons and reviews as their top two mobile research activities, while driving directions and contact information are more important to U.S. mobile searchers.

UK advertisers looking to maximize the impact of their ad dollars must incorporate these usage differences and research activity preferences into their mobile ad campaigns.

Longer Purchase Cycle for UK Mobile Searchers

In looking at mobile purchase-related behaviors, UK mobile searchers generally take longer to make a purchase decision than their U.S. counterparts.

While 56 percent of UK mobile consumers ultimately make a purchase, U.S. mobile searchers show more immediacy with the studies indicating that 17 percent of U.S. searchers versus 9 percent of UK searchers intend to make a purchase immediately.

Ultimately, 40 percent of UK mobile users make a purchase within the day, as compared with 56 percent of US mobile searchers. Lifestyle differences in the UK vs. the U.S. likely play a role in this immediacy difference, as more UK users (62 percent vs. 52 percent in the U.S.) are searching while at home, which demonstrates their commitment to research and can lead to a longer-term purchase.


On the whole, mobile marketers targeting both U.S. and UK audiences should evaluate and tailor their mobile ad programs to reflect the needs and lifestyles of the mobile users in those countries.

By including location information and considering the research patterns and purchase timing of both geographic groups, they will be better prepared to optimize their mobile ad programs for greater traction and ROI across the globe.

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