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Study: 94% of Millennials Use Smartphones to Research Purchases

It’s official: Brands and retailers without a mobile-optimized website risk losing out on potential sales. According to the seventh annual MyBuys “Personalization Consumer Survey,” published Feb. 20, the number of consumers who reported doing the majority of their shopping on their mobile devices last year jumped by 36 percent.

Not surprisingly, young adults are driving the surge. Ninety-four percent of 25- to 34-year-olds researched products on their smartphones and 74 percent of those went on to buy something. And it’s not just Millennials. The study also found that 74 percent of the 55-plus set used their smartphones for product research in 2014, while 33 percent continued on to complete a purchase.

While m-commerce is still relatively small as a percentage of global online spend (New research from PayPal and Ipsos revealed that smartphones and tablets drive just 9 and 5 percent of online spend respectively.), mobile is well on the way to becoming the default channel for product research. A recent “Retail Consumer Sentiment Survey” from Merkle Inc. discovered that 67 percent of shoppers under the age of 50 want retailers to offer a totally mobile path for purchases.

Furthermore, 53 percent of shoppers surveyed by MyBuys expect to be recognized as the same person across mobile, web and brick-and-mortar, and 48 percent say they purchase more from retailers that do so. “Consumers want consistent personalization everywhere they shop and on every device they use,” said Rita Brogley, president and CEO of MyBuys, in a statement.

According to Paul Schottmiller, Merkle’s senior vice president of strategy, retail and consumer goods, “We have reached the point where delivering personalization does not just refer to content, but will also need to reflect time and location.” He added, “Consumer expectations are high and retailers have never had more options for using technology to deliver differentiated customer experiences.”

Brogley offered a similar sentiment, noting that by incorporating more tailored content into their marketing strategies, retailers can improve brand loyalty, boost conversion and increase sales. “Consumers engage and shop more when they receive a truly personalized experience across all channels,” she said. “When done right, customers consider personalization a valuable service rather than an annoyance.”