43% of North American Retailers Plan to Use Geolocation Services

Location-based social sharing services like Foursquare and Gowalla have been experiencing rapid growth over the past year,  with Foursquare recently topping 6.5 million users. Now there’s a new kid on the geolocation block, with a different focus: location-based shopping app shopkick (the ‘Foursquare for shopping’) is just beginning to take hold, showing growth from 750,000 users at the end of January to over 1 million users in March 2011.

eMarketer takes a look at the usage numbers for multiple location-based services and at the plans of North American retailers to use such services in the next 12-24 months.

Here are the highlights:

  • just 4% of online Americans currently use location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla
  • 50% of people in the US with location-aware mobile devices used a broader spectrum of location-based services, including GPS navigation, location-based weather alerts, traffic updates, restaurant info and more
  • 43% of North American retailers plan to join up with a service like Foursquare in the next 2 years (only 3% do so currently)
  • 24% of North American retailers plan to partner with shopkick or a similar service in the next 2 years

Based on shopkick data, eMarketer speculates that “the app may be a better bet for many retailers than check-in apps with a more social core” since “mobile users more likely to use a location-aware shopping app than a social location-sharing service.” Some shopkick stats from Mashable (as of mid-February):

  • 100 million check-ins by shopkick users (in the 6 month since the app launched)
  • 10% of shopkick users are active each day
  • 40% are active each month
  • users have gone on to scan products in stores (using barcodes) more than 3 million times

Will shopkick’s location-based shopping service create some serious competition for Foursquare and social sharing services?  Tell us what you think.