In-Store Mobile Commerce: 52% Use Phones to Make Purchase Decisions

According to the latest research on mobile shopping from Pew, more than half of adult cell phone owners used their cell phones while they were in a store to get help with a purchase decision during the 2011 holiday season.

A total of 52% of all adult cell owners used their phone to call a friend for advice, look up reviews of a product online, or look up the price of a product online while they were in a store.  One third (33%) used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store—either product reviews or pricing information.

The study found some demographic patterns.  Cell owners who look up online product reviews are more likely to be between the ages of 18-49, to be urban or suburban (vs. rural) and to have attended college–but they are less likely to be white.  These groups are generally the same ones more likely to use their phone for online pricing information.

This has huge implications for brick-and-mortar retailers:  One in five “mobile price matchers” ultimately made their most recent purchase from an online store, rather than a physical location.  Of the respondents who use their phone to compare pricing while in the story, 35% purchased the product at that store.  But 37% decided to not purchase the product at all, while 19% purchased the product online, and 8% purchased the product at another store.

Pew points out that this equates to 5% of all cell owners who purchased a product online this holiday season after looking up its price online from a physical store.

Do you use your phone to comparison shop while you’re in a store?