The majority of online purchases still made via desktop

This holiday season, consumers are consulting mobile devices for help
checking off items on their shopping lists more than ever before. Thanks
in part to the growth of tablet device ownership among US households,
consumers are using mobile devices for product research, online shopping
and to help make decisions while in brick-and-mortar stores. According
to a Google holiday shopping study conducted by Ipsos OTX, 77% of tablet
owners plan to use them this holiday season for shopping.

The Google study indicates that tablet owners have a higher likelihood
of using the devices for online shopping than smartphone owners. When it
comes to using mobile devices for in-store shopping though, roughly
half of both smartphone and tablet users said they are very or extremely
likely to use their devices—perhaps surprising given the typical
tablet’s inability to fit into most people’s pockets.

Another holiday shopping study, from Prosper Mobile Insights, indicates
that about 60% of smartphone and tablet users plan to use their devices
for holiday shopping this season. Prosper Mobile Insights divides
shopping activities differently than Google. However, the research
indicates that most of the respondents who do plan to use their device
for holiday shopping will use it during the planning and research phase.
About 40% of those respondents will use mobile devices while out
shopping, including while in a physical store.

Prosper Mobile Insights also shows that certain product categories drive
more tablet and smartphone usage than others. Respondents told the
research firm they would purchase books, CDs and DVDs, video games,
clothing and electronics via their smartphone or tablet devices this
year at rates of 50% or higher.

Todd Pollak, retail industry director for Google, told eMarketer in an
interview that Google has seen a direct correlation between mobile
shopping activity and ads that consumers might have viewed on TV.

For example, a consumer might see a TV commercial for a discounted item
and subsequently search for that deal via tablet, which are becoming
consumers’ go-to device when it comes to product research and shopping
online, Pollak said. Smartphones are increasingly becoming on-the-go
personal shopping assistants, he noted.

In terms of mobile commerce, Pollack said there’s still room for growth, especially when it comes to mobile-optimized websites.

“The big barrier to people using smartphones for commerce is that the
browser experience on the phone is still difficult,” Pollak said. “With
mobile-optimized sites, conversion values, engagement and page views go
way up. Yet only a small percentage of Fortune 100 retailers have
implemented them.”

eMarketer estimates that 26.8 million US mobile users will have made a
purchase via their feature or smartphone by the end of this year, rising
to 37.5 million in 2012. eMarketer does not estimate tablet shopping

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