A new survey finds that in-store shoppers continue to showroom, or use their mobile phones to check competitor prices, but they’re also using their devices for purposes beneficial to the store they’re in.

According to the survey from Airship taken in September, the most popular shopping use of mobile phones inside stores among U.S. consumers were:

  • Using loyalty cards or coupons stored on the phone, 70 percent; 
  • Visiting the retailer’s website, 68 percent; 
  • Comparing prices (e.g., via Google, Amazon), 68 percent; 
  • Using the retailer’s app, 64 percent; 
  • Reading users’ reviews, 63 percent; 
  • Buying online and picking up in store, click & collect or curbside, 61 percent;
  • Contactless payment at point of sales/checkout (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc.), 55 percent;
  • Scanning QR codes or smart shelf tags for more information, 53 percent.

The findings come as smartphone use for shopping received a boost during the pandemic.

By 2025, eMarketer now expects m-commerce, or making purchases via mobile devices, will account for 10.4 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. — more than two and a half times the pre-pandemic share. Beyond restrictions on in-store shopping during much of the pandemic, the growth in smartphones as a shopping tool is expected to be supported by new technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and 5G, seamless one-touch checkouts, social commerce, livestreaming and influencer direct selling.

At the store level, pre-pandemic surveys and studies were already showing mobile increasingly influencing the shopper journey.

A 2019 survey from RetailMeNot found 69 percent of U.S. consumers would rather review a product on their phone than speak with an in-store associate and 53 percent preferring to seek out discounts and offers on their phones instead of consulting an associate.

The RetailMeNot survey further found nearly half had an app that collects deals and discounts across retailers on their smartphone and 69 percent indicated that receiving a personalized offer on their phone that they could use in-store would make them more likely to visit a physical retail location.


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