Mobile Usage

Mobile Device Usage Gives Holiday Shopping Season a Boost

Millennials always come to mind when marketers think of mobile device usage, and the average age group that carries it. They aren’t wrong, but solely relying on millennials might cause brands to miss out on a large amount of revenue this holiday shopping season. The latest research from Pitney Bowes suggests millennials aren’t alone in their online shopping habits, and although mobile is a way of life for this age group, it’s also the chosen shopping method for Australians ages 35-44.

Millennials aren’t the only mobile shoppers

As we enter the peak of the Christmas shopping season, mobile shopping is no longer just for millennials. While 18-34 year-olds may be the largest group of online shoppers (at 96%), 92% of the survey’s respondents between 35-44 years old say they too, happily shop online. In addition, 33% of respondents saying they purchase licensed items (Disney, Pokemon, etc.) at retail stores, making Australia one of the top direct-to-retail countries. Varying age groups have begun to level out the scales in terms of mobile device usage, meaning brands must cater to a wider variety of age groups when designing mobile-friendly shopping experiences. Statistics from IAB and Nielsen show 12.5 million Australians ages 18 and over access the internet from smartphones 35 hours per month, for both leisure and business in September of 2015, whereas 7 million accessed the internet under 26 hours per month from a tablet. Consumers are spending considerable amounts of time on mobile, and these numbers are no longer tied to an age group.


Mobile crosses borders

Pitney Bowes’ survey respondents reveal Singapore as the global leader in terms of online shopping from international retailers with Australia close behind. 89% of Singaporeans (highest worldwide) and 86% of Australians shop cross-border. A high concentration of international retail shopping suggests marketers should cast a far-and-wide net to absorb window shoppers and convert them into cross-border mobile purchases. As age group preferences begin to fade, retailers should look for ways to capitalise both locally and internationally throughout the holiday shopping season. Consumers don’t see walls preventing them from buying products they want- they see options and experiences. The mindset is no longer marketplace or retailer, in-country or cross-border, in-store or online – it’s to shop wherever has the product or experience they want.

Maureen Morris, head of Industry Sales Strategy & Insights at Google says organisations still aren’t leveraging mobile the way they should in order to reap real long-term benefits. If you have not fully optimised your mobile user experience, if you don’t fully understand how your customers are using mobile, if you’re not valuing those touch points in the right way … and if you’re adopting the real customer approach to it, you shouldn’t be doing anything else before you do that,” she said. “Before you get distracted by what’s coming down the pipe — because it won’t have material impact for you as a marketer for a few years — really get focused on what’s here and now today; mobile is here and now today and it’s behaviour, it’s not a device.”

Mobile device usage in Singapore is elevated above any other connected country worldwide, with 51% of shoppers preferring to use mobile devices to browse the mobile web. Although the preference swings towards a larger screen for making purchases, mobile’s inherent part in the purchase journey continues on after buyers make a purchase as they track their item’s shipment and share the product with friends. This mobile habit is a simple and effective way to highlight strengths and pain-points of the mobile consumer, such as a non-mobile friendly checkout process, versus the ease of shipment tracking on smartphones.


Product discovery feeds mobile device usage

Shopping in the mobile age means mobile plays more roles in the buyer’s purchase journey, not excluding product discovery. 62% of respondents say they discover products in marketplaces, while 43% say search engines, and 39% say retail sites. While 51% of Singapore’s shoppers were most likely to use a mobile device for browsing, making it the primary product discovery tool, 24% of Australians rely on email communications to discover new products. If your brand breaks down the top three ways consumers discover your products, and how Australians and Singaporeans like to learn about them, does your mobile shopping strategy directly cater to your consumers? Does it helpfully serve potential cross-border customers?

“The world is shopping—everywhere—as new consumer behaviors and trends have emerged. Entering the holiday season and a new year, retailers and marketplaces alike should take note and capitalize on these shifts in consumer behavior, which open up new opportunities for brands and retailers at home and abroad.” – Lila Snyder, President, Global Ecommerce, Pitney Bowes

Nearly half of Australians say they make domestic purchases each month, and one-fifth make online purchases weekly or daily. The two most common themes in preventing consumers from purchasing cross-border appear to be shipping costs (72%) and lack of trust in international retailers. Brands that can guarantee the correct item has shipped, provide easy return options & tracking info, clearly convey shipping policies, and can certify/assure authenticity will benefit from more international purchases, while those with less online shopping options (i.e. non-mobile friendly sites) will see less international web traffic.

Although mobile shopping preferences are bound to continue increasing regardless of brands’ mobile ad budgets, Pitney Bowes made it clear that payment options are critical. While credit cards are the most popular method of online payment, no one payment option was chosen by the majority of cross-border shoppers. Another popular option was E-wallets, which allow customers to store several payment options in one service. E-wallets make mobile shopping quick by removing extra steps from the path to purchase. Where limited options alienate a significant number of potential buyers, customers also said payment choices come with their own set of details that encourage buying frequency. When selecting a payment option, these consumers decide based on the service fees/cost of purchase (33%), the value of purchase (25%), and whether that option offers a purchase protection plan (25%). Mobile device usage is maturing, but shipping still remains a challenge for cross-border and mobile shoppers.

Surprisingly, many survey respondents’ shipping problems often had more to do with customer service than the shipping itself, with 51% Singaporean respondents saying they experienced challenges such as receiving the wrong item last Christmas. Brands shouldn’t disregard this data as we push through this holiday shopping season. Offering mobile-friendly tracking options, save-for-later shopping carts that move seamlessly between mobile and desktop devices, and providing a healthy assortment of payment options can be exactly what your brand needs to move to the top of consumers’ lists. Regardless of age group, the higher the likelihood of reaching a consumer at the right time on mobile, the more likely your brand will connect and resonate.

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