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Almost Two-Thirds of U.S. Consumers Now Use Mobile to Shop, Says CTA Research

Nine in ten mobile devices owners have at least one subscription for promotions, discounts – February 22, 2017 – 

The increasing use of smartphones for shopping has drastically impacted the consumer’s path to purchase, according to the Consumer Technology Association's (CTA)™ Path to Purchase Using Mobile Devices Market Research report. CTA’s report finds that online and mobile research leading to a brick-and-mortar in-store purchase remains the primary way consumers make decisions.
Most online U.S. consumers (60 percent) now use mobile technology for shopping, and two thirds (67 percent) searched online for additional product information, according to new research from CTA. The Path to Purchase Using Mobile Devices Market Research report also finds an overwhelming nine in ten mobile device owners (90 percent) have at least one subscription to access coupons, promotions, and special discounts.
“Every step of the consumer’s path to purchase has dramatically changed with the use of smartphones, from triggering interest in considering technology products to purchase and sometimes post purchase behavior that includes posting online reviews,” said Steve Koenig, senior director, market research, CTA. “The retail market continues to change with the innovations associated with smartphone technologies – such as location-based services and apps – creating new opportunities for both brick-and-mortar and online retailers to meet the changing needs of consumers.”
Key Mobile Shopping Trends:

  • Websites preferred over mobile apps: Driven by a desire for accessible, convenient content, consumers strongly prefer mobile-optimized websites over apps. With more than 90 percent of mobile device owners subscribed to at least one subscription, consumers actively seek alerts to offers and sales.

  • Connectivity provides optimal shopping experiences: Consumers seek value, exclusivity and authenticity, as well as personalized content and deals based on location, all of which mobile devices can provide. Despite high ownership of mobile devices, 41 percent of consumers use a desktop or laptop to assist in shopping.

  • Brick and mortars remain king: Sixty-one percent of purchases are made in-store, with 29 percent of consumers searching for product information while shopping in-store. While consumers say smartphones offer quick access to information, using a phone in-store is distracting.

  • Consumers seek simplified checkout experiences online: Most online purchases are made via online-only retailer websites (51 percent), such as Amazon or Newegg, rather than with online-only retailer apps (24 percent), or multichannel retailer websites or apps. Seventy-six percent of consumers use existing online accounts to make a purchase; the remaining use guest checkout options or sign up for a new account.

  • Holiday mobile sales continue to grow: CTA estimated U.S. online consumer spending via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets almost doubled during the 2016 holiday season – increasing 45 percent to $20.1 billion.

Driving this evolving lifecycle is the smartphone. Owned in 74 percent of U.S. households, smartphones remain a dominant consumer product. According to other CTA research, smartphones will grow three percent to reach 185 million smartphones sold this year in the U.S., with revenues expected to reach $55.6 billion.
“Mobile connectivity that delivers anytime/anywhere access and information is one of the driving trends of our time – and our shopping preferences reflect that evolution,” said Koenig. “From smart homes and smartphones to self-driving cars and connected cities to continued innovations in mobile devices, this is another example of technology making our everyday lives easier and more efficient than ever.”
The Path to Purchase Using Mobile Devices Market Research report was designed and formulated by CTA, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology industry. It represents the findings of a quantitative study administered via internet web form to an online national sample of 1,009 U.S. adults between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3, 2016. To download or purchase the report, or for more information, visit