Survey: Search Engines Dominate Mobile Product Research

shutterstock_126762251 shoppingLast week, Local Corporation released survey results from its latest round of consumer mobile shopping research. The company is promoting a new version of its local-mobile shopping app Havvit. The survey was conducted in March and carried out by the Chicago-based e-tailing group and consisted of nearly 1,300 US smartphone owners.

Among other questions the survey asked, “When using a mobile device for product research, how do you search?” Survey respondents overwhelmingly said “search engine” vs. the other choices:

  • Search engine: 73 percent
  • Specific mobile website: 33 percent
  • Mobile app: 24 percent

(Multiple responses were permitted)

One might argue that the form of the question biased the outcome somewhat. But there’s no question that mobile search is widely used in consumer product research.

Mobile “search results listings” was also the most influential category or variable when mobile users were asked “What influences your [buying/purchase] decisions?”:

  • Search results listings: 50 percent
  • Ratings and reviews: 42 percent
  • Search results with local product availability: 31 percent
  • Email from retailers where consumer had opted-in: 30 percent
  • Group buying/coupons: 19 percent
  • Mobile apps: 9 percent

Interestingly the results showed that women were more influenced by email (33 percent [women] vs. 27 percent [men]) and men by search results (51 percent vs. 48 percent).

The survey also found that 27 percent of consumers had used their smartphones to pay for an in-store purchase at some point. It’s not clear from the data and discussion released what “in-store” means here (retail only or any offline purchase [e.g., Starbucks, QSR]?).

Reasons for not using a “mobile wallet” were security (44 percent) and privacy (36 percent). Asked what brands consumers trusted to handle or manage mobile wallets and mobile payments, consumers said Visa, PayPal and Apple but not Google:

  • Visa: 24 percent
  • PayPal: 21 percent
  • Apple: 15 percent
  • Amazon: 13 percent
  • Amex: 7 percent
  • Google: 6 percent

Mobile devices play a critical role in consumer shopping though most conversions or transactions tend to happen later on another device (PC, tablet) or offline, in stores.