46% of Searchers Now Use Mobile Exclusively to Research [Study]

Mobile is movin’ on up as a preferred device for consumers to perform research on and purchase with in the U.S. This, according to findings in the 2013 Mobile Path-to-Purchase study by Telmetrics and xAd.

Mobile as a Research and Purchase Device


Research from the study suggests more and more, consumers are using mobile devices to complete tasks from start to finish. Fifty percent of respondents said they use their mobile devices to start the search process; 46 percent use mobile exclusively when performing research online.

Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics, says mobile devices are often a staple in any online search.

“For most consumers, even if they are searching on their PC, they still have their smartphone in the other hand to call a business or conduct parallel research,” he said.

Highlighting the ever-increasing importance of mobile in conversions, the study shows one out of every three respondents use a mobile device throughout the entire purchase process. Sixty percent of smartphone users across the categories examined in the study – banking/finance, gas/convenience, insurance and retail in the U.S. – completed purchases related to their mobile activity.

Google’s New Multiscreen World study, published last summer, showed similar stats when it came to how mobile plays into searches online. (The data showed a majority – 65 percent – of online searches began on a smartphone.)

But in Google’s findings, the data showed 61 percent continued on a laptop from the smartphone on the path to purchase. Could this new data mean a changing landscape that’s evolving faster than expected?

Opportunities for Brands and Mobile Apps

Where do mobile users go online first when starting the search process on their device? Stats from the study show 57 percent of smartphone users go directly to a brand’s app or website.

This stat reinforces the notion that businesses need to focus on creating their mobile experience. Dinan says brands must continue to look at ways to meet expectations of mobile users, which includes creating apps and mobile-optimized sites.

The Mobile-Local Sweet Spot

smartphone-user-contact-searchMany people on-the-go have specific intentions and expectations when performing a mobile search. According to the report, 60 percent of consumers expect a business to be within walking or local driving distance from their current location. And one out of every three smartphone users search for a business’s contact information.

So how should local business respond to this data? One of the many opportunities is online ads. Dinan cites local relevance as a primary reason for mobile ad engagement. He said it’s crucial for advertisers to include important local identifiers like maps, driving directions, and phone numbers.

But not every mobile user is searching with purpose, Dinan said. “Only half of mobile searchers report they know exactly what they are looking for, so brand marketers have an opportunity to influence the other half,” he said.

Additional findings of the study will be released during the remainder of the year, each focused on each of the four sectors mentioned in this report.

You can also access the general findings infographic of the Mobile Path-to-Purchase U.K. edition here, which paints a slightly different picture than U.S. data.

The Mobile Path to Purchase 2013 study was based on survey feedback compiled by Nielsen of more than 2,000 respondents plus observed consumer behaviors from Nielsen’s Smartphone Analytics Panel.

Here’s the full infographic:


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