Here’s an interesting question: Does the type of device used to go online affect what we do once we get there? Or, put another way: Do consumers shop differently online if they’re using a laptop rather than, say, a smartphone?
Apparently the answer to both of those questions is “Yes,” according to a new report from Zmags, and the idea that consumers may demonstrate category-specific device preferences when they shop online potentially adds a whole new layer of complexity for developers of B2C marketing strategy.
The Zmags’ survey of 1,500 Americans looked at the behaviors and profiles of online and mobile shoppers. The results, analyzed in the report Meet the Connected Consumer– How Tablets, Smartphones and Facebook are Changing the Way Consumers Shop Across Retail Categories, showed that:
- 87 percent of those polled tend to do most of their web-based retail therapy (whether it be browsing, comparison shopping or buying) using PCs or laptops, rather than tablets or smartphones.
- However, tablet shopping is gaining traction. 87 percent of those who own tablets indicated that used them to do at least a portion of their 2011 holiday shopping, and 49 percent of everyone surveyed expect to use tablets more for shopping in the coming year.
- Surprisingly, a mere 4 percent reported that they shopped via a merchant’s smartphone or tablet app. Instead, consumers in this study strongly preferred patronizing company websites and mobile sites, rather than using apps.
- Use of smartphones for shopping lagged behind laptop/PC and tablet use in nearly all shopping categories reviewed in this study. The exception to this was the purchasing of music, where smartphone shoppers led the way over those who used other devices.
- Electronics, books and toys comprised the top three categories of what people purchased online, followed by clothing, music, travel and jewelry.
It’s also worth noting that this research underscored the proliferation of connected consumers on Facebook. More than 80 percent of those surveyed said they have active Facebook accounts, and 40 percent said they engage and do business with their favorite brands via Facebook. It appears that the social media giant presents a still largely untapped goldmine for retailers and their marketing strategists.