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The reliance on smartphones for purchase decisions, combined with the ‘always on’ nature of smartphones had fundamentally changed how consumers consider purchases. Impatience and faster decision making processes mean that making a purchase is no longer a linear decision process.

The 2016 Mobile Path to Purchase study showed that 56% of people who research products opt to make a purchase decision – online or offline – within the hour, and overall over 70% want to be within 5 miles of a physical store, so using location and location intelligence to reach people in those ‘moments that matter’ is key.

Theo Theodorou, Head of EMEA, xAd, said that the study “proves just how crucial a role mobile plays within a consumer’s decision making process.”

The report highlighted that using location to drive people into store isn’t just a purchase completion tactic, it’s key for research too. Over half (57%) of respondents still visit a location as part of their research before making that all important purchase decision.

A good example of this is the car industry, as many assume that once people have visited a brand specific dealership, the consumer has already decided which car to purchase. This just isn’t true! 64% admit to visiting dealerships as part of the research only process, proving that people are still able to be influenced even when they commit to visit a specific brand dealership.

In comparison, for retail, 62% completed a purchase after researching it, mostly online via mobile (39%) or instore (28%). Overall, of all the categories researched using mobile, almost the same proportion of consumers are completing their purchases on mobile (35%) and in-store (36%). But a millennial split is apparent, with 45-54 year olds much more likely to complete their purchases in-store 40%, compared with 28% of 18-24 year olds

People are making their mind up to buy quickly and becoming more impatient once they have done so. 56% of consumers are making purchasing decisions immediately or within the hour after researching on their mobile.

Proximity is key for purchase completion. 43% of those using mobile for retail purposes expect locations of businesses found on smartphones to be within a local driving distance (1-5 miles), and 20% expect it to be within walking distance (less than 1 mile).

For retail, 37% of respondents used their smartphones specifically to purchase at home, whilst only 5% did on the move as most opted to visit the store instead.

Jonathan Mew, chief operating officer from the IAB UK said: “Mobile allows advertisers to merge the online and offline worlds and enhance the customer experience throughout the consumer journey. Consumers researching products and services while on-the-go demonstrate a great deal of intent to purchase and to purchase quickly – and smartphones allow marketers to reach these people in these moments.”