January 5, 2017
Millennials are increasingly turning to mobile to enhance their in-store experience, with 96 percent of millennials making purchases at stores at which they used their mobile devices to shop.
A new report from International Council of Shopping Centers has analyzed the data from this holiday season, identifying trends in shopping patterns. One of the things they found was that millennials overwhelmingly use mobile as a shopping companion.
“The convergence of physical and digital continues to be important as consumers have come to expect an integrated experience allowing them to buy products through a variety of channels,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of International Council of Shopping Centers. “The survey data proves that omnichannel retailers are the real winners this season as they offer purchasing options that satisfy the shopping behaviors of all generations.”
Online to offline
Mobile has been the focus of many retailers’ analysis in the past few years. Since the advent of smartphones, brands and marketers from many different industries have been focused on how mobile affects the retail shopping experience.
But for many, much of the effort of analysis is taken up with understanding mobile shopping from home – as in, mobile shopping as separate from the retail experience.
But increasingly, this notion is becoming less useful. More and more, retailers are beginning to understand that the nature of mobile makes it the perfect tool to act as a companion to consumers’ shopping experiences.
An overwhelming number of millennials use their mobile devices in this way.
To analyze exactly how many and in what ways, ISCS conducted an investigation into consumers shopping habits over the holiday season – a prime area of study considering it is the busiest shopping time of the year and consumers are making more purchases than any other season.
The report found that 86 percent of millennials used mobile devices to supplement their shopping experiences.
The most common use of a mobile device in-store was to compare prices at other stores, followed by checking availability, getting discounts or coupons and reading reviews.
Millennials also made purchases at 96 percent of the stores at which they used their phones.
If that is not enough incentive, brands and retailers that had a strong presence both online and offline, or encouraged the use of mobile as a shopping tool, were the most successful during the holiday season.
While it is important for retailers to continue to analyze and support mobile as a companion to in-store shopping, mobile shopping in general should not be ignored.
Another recent report found that mobile and online sales outpaced in-store retail this past Black Friday (see story).
But as online and offline shopping continue to converge, it will be up to brands and retailers to remove the walls between them and embrace a retail philosophy that treats both as two branches of the same experience.
Consumers expect that their online and offline shopping experiences will be seamless.
If brands want to capture a larger amount of sales, they will have to take that data to heart.