New Mobile Path to Purchase Research Reveals How U.K. Consumers’ Purchase Decisions are Influenced by Real-Time Location

XAD | 11 / 19 / 2015

xAd’s third annual U.K. study shows 56% of consumers who research goods and services in-store convert to purchases on location

LONDON – November 19, 2015 – xAd, the leader in location-based marketing that enables marketers to reach the right people based on the real places they visit every day, today announced the results of a study that examined how consumers’ relationship with mobile and physical location affects purchase behaviour and decisions.

The findings show that easy access to instant information on mobile devices is driving consumers to demand immediacy and convenience. Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for researching products and/or services revealing a huge opportunity to influence consumers at the beginning of their path to purchase.

The findings are detailed in xAd’s 2015 U.K. Mobile Path to Purchase report that analysed survey responses from 1,473 smartphone users in the UK who have used their device for a purchase decision over the past 30 days in the Retail, Grocery or Auto categories. Produced annually since 2013, the study provides insight on how the always-on and on-the-go nature of mobile impacts consumers’ intent, immediacy and context—providing marketers with the information they need to engage their audiences at the optimal time and place. In fact, the 2015 report reveals that in the UK 38% of shoppers who researched purchases on their mobile device expect to buy within the hour. This has increased by 65% since 2013, showing how consumers increasingly expect immediacy for purchase decisions.

Theo Theodorou, Head of EMEA, xAd comments: “Over half of UK consumers cite mobile as their most important media for researching a purchase. Mobile is quickly overtaking desktop and as people increasingly rely on their smartphones, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to engage with their audience by leveraging the ‘here and now’ nature of the mobile device. The context around a consumer’s location – where they are and where they’ve been – is one of the strongest indicators of purchase intent in real-time and provides brands with invaluable insight about how to engage consumers when they’re either on-the-go or using their device at home.”

Jon Mew, COO of IAB UK, adds: “Mobile is now central to so many on and offline purchases and we welcome xAd’s research to help educate the industry about the role it plays. With usage growing and mobile advertising now accounting for 39% of all digital display it’s more important than ever that marketers can understand the value of mobile.”

Four key themes emerged that share the intent, immediacy and context of mobile users.

Location Provides Context of Consumer Mindset

  • On-the-go and ready to buy: For marketers, location-based insights are now essential to understand a person’s current mindset and needs. 42% of those who research goods and services on the go are likely to purchase within the hour and one in five are looking for a specific address suggesting that they will convert in store.
  • More mobile time at home: Starting in 2014, consumers were actually more likely to use their smartphones at home than out of home, creating even more opportunities to influence purchase decisions. In the UK, 64% of mobile usage is at home, and interestingly, data in the report shows that two in five consumers searching at home will go on to complete their purchase on their mobile device.

Always-On Mobile Has Created an On-Demand Culture

  • Long and short journeys both demand immediacy: For retail – fast and frequent purchases – the number of consumers wanting to complete a transaction continues to increase. In fact, over half (56%) of shoppers want to convert within the day. Even for big-ticket purchases – like cars – that take a great deal of research and consideration, nearly a quarter of shoppers (23%) searching on their smartphones want to convert right away.
  • Immediacy and proximity expectations go hand-in-hand: Two-thirds of consumers wanting to make a transaction within an hour expect to travel up to 5 miles from their current location. 

Mobile Is Central to Purchase Decisions

  • Mobile is #1 for Many Consumers: 53% of UK consumers report their mobile devices as being the most essential aid to their purchase decision.
  • Mind the Generation Gap: Smartphone owners under 35 are 2.5 times more likely to rely on their smartphones as their primary source of information than consumers over the age of 55. For marketers trying to target the illusive millennial demographic, mobile must be at the top of their list.
  • Mobile-only purchase decisions now cross all categories: Mobile-only purchases have grown steadily in the past two years across all categories. In particular, for quick and frequent purchases for groceries and retail, over a third of respondents rely solely on mobile to research buying decisions. But even for large purchases like automotive vehicles, nearly one in ten consumers relied solely on their smartphone for purchase information.

Mobile Enhances the In-Store Experience

  • In-store and always-on (mobile): In 2015, more than half of consumers visited a business as part of their research (up by 42% on 2014) and over a third completed the transaction in-store (up 13% on last year).
  • Let’s get – and stay – physical: 56% of consumers who used their smartphone for in-store research made a purchase at the physical location, compared to 40% who ultimately purchased online.

Armed with information that reveals consumer intent, immediacy and context, marketers can make data-based decisions to effectively tailor communication with their audiences. Detailed analytics and metrics also determine the content that drives engagement and ultimately, sales.

“The insights from the Mobile Path to Purchase report provide brands with crucial insights into the right moments to connect with consumers across the purchase journey,” continues Theodorou. “It’s tougher than ever for brands to understand how their customers are behaving – especially as they become more mobile. However, with precision and the scale to identify who to reach and when, marketers can understand how best to use mobile advertising. Real-time location insights allow marketers to better allocate their budgets and tailor their strategies, which will be particularly valuable as brands push for year-end success.”

“The MMA knows through our own SMoX studies that marketers’ should spend as high as 25% of their total ad spend in mobile, and when they do, sales increase by nearly 15%. xAd has done a great job working to educate the market on how to best leverage mobile in marketing, especially using location and this year’s Mobile Path to Purchase study is another example,” commented Greg Stuart, Chief Executive Officer, at Mobile Marketing Association. “With MMA’s SMoX and xAd’s Mobile Path to Purchase reports, we are enabling marketers to know how to use the consumer shift to mobile channels to their advantage and increase in campaign and business performance.”

xAd recently released its 2015 Mobile Path to Purchase findings for the U.S., which can also be downloaded here:

About the 2015 Mobile Path to Purchase Report

Since 2013, xAd has conducted its Mobile Path to Purchase study in the UK to understand how consumers are leveraging their mobile devices from initial purchase intent to conversions, while exploring consumer behavior and ad effectiveness across key industries. The 2015 Mobile Path to Purchase from xAd highlights some of the most impactful trends observed over the past 3 years. Conducted in March 2015, this year’s study contains online survey data from 1,500 smartphone users in the U.K. who have used their device for a purchase decision in the past 30 days. xAd’s annual Path to Purchase study was the first such study in the market, commissioned and conducted with Nielsen.

Download xAd’s 2015 Mobile Path to Purchase report here.


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