Who Buys What Via Mobile?

July 29, 2013

At Mobile Commerce World Conference I came across an interesting presentation by Parks Associates on Consumer Mobile Purchasing, a company that provides market research reports and industry analysis services. Recently, they finished another study on how and what people buy via mobile. The research was done in the USA and covers users behaviors within the past 30 days. Here are some of the highlights I’d like to share.

What do people buy on mobile?
First of all, digital content: apps, games and music leading the are leading the way. The situation with physical goods is very different.  Mostly, users go for food delivery services, however, only over 10% of them truly by physical goods through mobile. The most striking thing is that almost 60% of mobile users still don’t use smartphones for shopping. Big opportunities for retailers out there!

Who are those mobile shoppers?
The audience took a guess and unanimously shouted: MEN 🙂 However, the study showed that the profile of a typical mobile shopper is a little different – it’s a rather young (18-24) woman (surprise!) with an iPhone and income higher the average ($75-100k per year).

What smartphones do people use for mobile shopping?
As you can see from the chart, most purchases in all categories were done by iPhone users. Android users fall behind, usually they spend their money on apps, games and music. Blackberry and Microsoft users are pretty similar in their shopping preferences. However, games are more popular with Windows Phone owners. Blackberry users spend more money on such categories as tickets to events and travel*.

To sum up, m-commerce is growing. While users get more and more used to purchase digital content via their smartphones, they are not so comfortable with buying physical goods and ordering service via mobile. This is both a great challenge and opportunity for retailers. Targeting the right customer segment, you can spike your mobile sales. There are certain differences in consumer purchasing behavior among different smartphone owners but looks like you can never go wrong with the iPhone.

* one of the reasons here is that Blackberry is still used mostly by business people. According to the latest data, business travelers are more likely to actually book their travel on mobile. A Google study found that 32% of mobile travelers have booked overnight accommodation on mobile devices, compared to 24% of those who travel for personal reasons. You can access the full report here: The Mobile Tourist: How Smartphones Are Shaking Up The Travel Market