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Consumers' Retail-Related Mobile Searches Continue in Store


Shoppers continue to use their smartphones to look for bargains and discounts even after they cross the threshold of stores, says a new study of mobile search activity by Hitwise, a division of Connexity that provides online consumer insights and analytical services.

Mobile devices now account for the majority – or near majority – of online searches for almost every major industry. The food and beverage sector leads the pack at 77 percent of online searches initiated on a mobile device.

Some 77 percent of retail searches that mention “coupon” are initiated on a smartphone or tablet, as are 73 percent of searches seeking a “sale” and 68 percent of “discount” searches. Comparison searches that have the potential to close a sale, such as those focused on “return policy,” “price match” or “reviews,” are initiated on a mobile device at least 77 percent of the time, according to the analysis.

Meanwhile, the study confirmed that deal-seeking searches for online purchases, like those looking for a “promo code,” are more likely to start on a desktop since traditional computers are still the preferred device for conducting most types of online transactions.

Location-based retail searches are among those most heavily skewed toward mobile. These include searches that incorporate the words “near me,” “hours” and “24-hour,” as well as those that start out with “where to buy.”

“With so much shopping activity occurring online, including while consumers are shopping in physical stores, online search may be one of the best ways to influence shoppers,” says John Fetto, senior analyst at Hitwise. “Understanding the device from which different types of searches typically originate and then formulating a strategy for engaging the consumers behind those searches is critical. And the risk[s] of not doing so – lost sales, unhappy customers, missed opportunities, etc. – are enormous.”

Hitwise, a division of Los Angeles-based Connexity, is a provider of online consumer insights and analytical services measuring online behavior daily to help marketers understand and reach consumers across channels and media in a connected device ecosystem.

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