Mobile device shapes a shopper’s path to purchase

By Dan Cohen

With the imminent holiday season shaping up to be the biggest mobile-commerce event ever, brands and retailers need to make the most of the opportunity. A real understanding of how a shopper’s path to purchase is influenced by their specific device and operating system is vital to making the most of that opportunity, according to Tradedoubler’s research report Mobile Devices & Behaviour, released today.

Available for download at ( ) Mobile Devices & Behaviour reveals that:

• On the path to purchase, iPhone owners are canny and confident users of apps and performance-based channels to enhance their shopping experiences and search for bargains. 75 per cent of iPhone owners surveyed use apps daily and 28 per cent search for vouchers and coupons at least once a week. 25 per cent search for vouchers in-store and 22 per cent receive location-based special offers. 21 per cent have price comparison apps and 23 per cent have daily deals installed on their iPhones, whilst 20 per cent use their phone as a loyalty card.

• iPhone owners are the most engaged users, and are most likely to access the mobile web daily (80 per cent), research products weekly (46 per cent) and make purchases weekly or more often (20 per cent).

• Despite BlackBerry owners being most likely to describe mobile commerce as a frustrating experience, they are still active shoppers, representing an affluent and time-poor group second only to iPhone owners in regularly researching products (31 per cent at least weekly), hunting down coupons and purchasing weekly or more often using their handsets (13 per cent).

• Android owners are the second most likely group to describe mobile purchasing as a frustrating experience and they lag behind when it comes to engaging with their device for mobile commerce with only 10 per cent purchasing weekly, making them currently the least important target.

• The rapid growth in tablet ownership adds complexity, but also opportunity to the mobile commerce landscape. 23 per cent of smartphone owners already own a tablet and an additional 36 per cent plan to acquire one within the next year. Tablet owners are more likely to convert research on their device into a purchase, with 35 per cent saying it is a preferred means of purchasing products. They are significantly more likely to buy higher ticket items, with nearly one in five (18 per cent) having spent more than £500 in one transaction.

• An effective mobile site is essential for those targeting a broad mobile audience. Android owners are far more likely to research purchases on the mobile browser, 19 per cent versus 9 per cent who use apps. A place on price comparison sites, offering strong integration with barcode apps, becomes essential for influencing purchase decisions for this group.

Our research shows that shoppers’ paths to purchase on mobile can resemble a maze. So understanding how different mobile devices and operating systems influence and drive consumer behaviour – from the initial research through to the point of purchase – is vital.

For example, unlike experienced iPhone users, many Android owners are experiencing a smartphone for the first time. However, given the platform’s growing share, it will become increasingly important to engage Android owners effectively.

The report recommends that brands and retailers looking to take advantage of mobile should adopt a seamless approach across online and off-line channels with mobile-optimised websites and tracked affiliate programmes, reinforced by special daily deals, voucher codes and other relevant performance marketing initiatives to drive additional revenues.

The varying patterns of behaviour across different devices revealed by our research leave marketers with two options when it comes to developing a mobile strategy for performance marketing: target solutions at the groups who are most engaged with shopping on their devices, or develop a strategy that can work across devices and channels by side-stepping the limitations and frustrations of certain platforms. We believe that by targeting investment carefully, brands and retailers may be able to achieve both.


For the study, more than 2,000 smartphone users were surveyed in Germany, Sweden, France and UK.

About the author

Dan Cohen was recruited into Tradedoubler in September 2011 as Network Director, to set up the Publisher Development Team, which won the two prestigious publisher awards at the 2012 Performance Awards. Prior to that, Dan has worked in online advertising for the past 7 years, with senior roles at affiliate network dgm, amongst other positions. Dan has also held various strategic roles at The European Newspaper, ITV, Chrysalis Radio & GWR Radio prior to moving into online advertising.

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