During the 2011 holiday season, the majority of adult cell phone owners relied on their phones to research product information while shopping at physical stores.

Adults Use Cellphones to Make Purchase Decisions In Stores


Consumers use Smartphones for online shopping, but they also use cellphones in stores while they’re shopping – whether to call a friend, read product reviews or compares prices of items. During a 30-day period before and after Christmas, 52% of adult cell phone owners called a friend, looked up product reviews, or researched the price of a product online. A study performed by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project shows 38% of all cell phone owners use their phone to call a friend to ask advice about an item while they were shopping in a store. As calling friends was a principal reason cell phone users were likely to use their phone before buying an item, research showed that 37% of men called a friend for advice in regards to a purchase whereas 40% women did so. For the same category, figures between different populations of people in terms of race, household income, and geographic location did not vary much. However, 49% of cell phone users from 18-29 called a friend for advice about a purchase whereas only 32% of cell phone users from 50-64 did.

Consumers Look For Online Reviews And Price Matching

In store shopping is definitely becoming a connected experience. Aside from using cell phones to call friends, 17% of users who researched product information on a mobile phone while shopping, used their phones for looking up both online reviews and online price matching. Online reviews allow cell phone users to research the advice and opinions that previous buyers made whereas online price matching involves comparing prices for the same product for different stores. Demographically speaking, non-white cell phone owners look up online product reviews more so than white cell phone owners. Additionally, urban and suburban mobile phone owners used their phones to research product reviews that were located in physical stores.

In-Store Phone Users Often End Up Buying Regardless of Location

35% of consumers who used their cellphone to search for prices and product reviews decided to actually purchase the product at that store. More consumers (37%) decided ultimately not to purchase that particular product. However, cell phones proved to be useful in making the final purchase of the product regardless of the location. While 8% decided to buy the researched product at another store, 19% end up purchasing the item online. If you do a little math, it means that 62% of consumers who use cellphones in store to get information about a particular product end up purchasing it in the end. This being said, 5% of all cellphone owners during the holiday season purchased a product online after researching its price from the store's location.

By Marcus Burke