RichRelevance Study Reveals Mobile Generation Gap This Holiday

Survey of 1,000 American shoppers shows that mobile phones are primarily used to research, browse and compare—not make a purchase

Two of out 3 Millennials will use mobile phones to research items before they buy them in the store this holiday—up significantly from last year

San Francisco, CA – November 18, 2014 – It’s no secret that shoppers will be turning to their smartphones to shop this holiday—but a new study shows that it’s not always for the reasons retailers think.

RichRelevance®, the global leader in omnichannel personalization, today announced key findings from a nationwide survey of over 1,000 American shoppers that details how and why real consumers are using their phones to shop this holiday. The study finds that researching and browsing gifts on mobile far outranks purchasing items (whether at home or in a competitor’s store)—and, in fact coveted Millennial shoppers are heading to the store or laptop to complete major purchases.

Study highlights include:

  • Nearly 3 out of 4 Millennials (72%) plan to use their mobile phone to shop this holiday compared to 54% of middle-aged respondents. The top three reasons that Millennials turn to their phones are to research (51%), compare prices (46%) and browse (44%), which far outrank purchasing gifts (31%).
  • What is keeping shoppers from hitting the mobile “buy” button this holiday? Millennials and middle-aged shoppers overwhelmingly cite frustration with research and checkout on a small screen as the #1 barrier to purchase (74% and 54% respectively). The desire to see and touch an item ranks a distant second for Millennials (41%), indicating that conventional wisdom on the role of the store may need to change.
  • When it comes to price point on mobile, the majority of shoppers across all generations shy away from big-ticket items on their mobile phones. Overall, 58% won’t purchase anything more than $100 on mobile. The hesitation is surprisingly more acute for younger shoppers: 68% of Millennials won’t purchase anything more than $100 on mobile, with 41% setting $50 as their upper limit.

The survey also drills into the intersection of mobile and store to yield additional generational findings:

  • When asked specifically about the store, 62% of Millennial respondents said they will use mobile phones to research items before they buy them in the store, and well more than half (56%) plan to use their phones to research in the store more than they did last holiday season. Looking across generations, 52% of shoppers will use their mobile to research a purchase.
  • More than any other generation, Millennials are comfortable turning to their phone instead of a sales associate when they need information in the store. Forty-two percent would rather use their phone than find an associate (versus 23% for middle-aged shoppers).
  • Favorite digital innovations for Millennials in the store include special deals and promotions served to a smartphone (52%), the ability to order online and pick up in the store (52%) and the ability to check out anywhere in the store (45%). Millennials are also more excited about charging stations than any other generation—an easy holiday addition for retail stores.

“Mobile shoppers are increasingly using their phones to research items—particularly expensive items—for purchase in the store,” said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. “They’re also using phones to replace store functions previously held by associates such as information and checkout. Successful omnichannel retailers are respecting the multitude of ways that Americans shop, and providing personalized digital experiences in the store, on mobile—wherever consumers are shopping.”

View infographic here.

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This post was written by RichRelevance

ABOUT RichRelevance
RichRelevance is the global leader in experience personalization, driving digital growth and brand loyalty for more than 200 of the world’s largest B2C and B2B brands and retailers. The company leverages advanced AI technologies to bridge the experience gap between marketing and commerce to help digital marketing leaders stage memorable experiences that speak to individuals – at scale, in real time, and across the customer lifecycle. Headquartered in San Francisco, RichRelevance serves clients in 42 countries from 9 offices around the globe.
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