Pew Research just released a report on The rise of in-store mobile commerce that looked at how Americans used their phones to assist with purchasing decisions this holiday season. In aggregate 52% of users relied on their cell phone to either check with a friend, look at product reviews or check pricing online. Younger users were significantly more likely to do so than users over 50.
It means that any store selling commodity retail products can look at significant price pressure from this behavior. It also means that even “super stores” will be under continuing pressure. The likes of Staples, KMart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and others are likely to see significantly less profitability and be under threat.
From the report:
More than half of adult cell phone owners used their cell phones while they were in a store during the 2011 holiday season to seek help with purchasing decisions. During a 30 day period before and after Christmas:
- 38% of cell owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making
- 24% of cell owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store
- 25% of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else
Taken together, just over half (52%) of all adult cell owners used their phone for at least one of these three reasons over the holiday shopping season and one third (33%) used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store—either product reviews or pricing information.