Mobile- It’s Changed Everything

Eight years ago, Apple released the first iPhone. Today, over 70% of all adult consumers have some brand of a smartphone. This doesn’t include other forms of mobile devices like iPads, phablets, tablets, wearables, etc. Within this short period of time, consumers have learned that anything they need is available to them whenever and wherever they want.

The consumer’s ability to control, personalize and communicate information has dramatically increased. Not only can we do new things but we expect new things as well. We can pull out our devices and check our email, play a game, update our travel schedule, chat with our friends, pay our bills, look for a restaurant, and the list goes on and on. We just tap an app and it’s done. This change while great for consumers, has been a challenge for marketers and businesses.

Marketers have traditionally viewed the consumer path to purchase as linear or funnel based. That view no longer exists in today’s environment. It is more like a long winding road where consumers navigate various forms of media both online and offline that all circle around, and lead to, the purchase. Every purchase can be a unique journey.

In order to better understand consumers’ usage of mobile devices for local search, we surveyed 2,147 consumers, in January 2015, as part of our annual Local Search Survey.

What we found was that:


  • We are past the tipping point with mobile usage. This year 148 million U.S. adults or 60% will use mobile devices when searching for information on local products and services online.
  • Consumers can and do access information everywhere. 105 million adult smartphone owners use their devices often or every time while shopping. Looking for deals (54%), followed by comparing prices (51%), and looking at reviews (39%) are the top activities.
  • Information obtained from mobile search and mobile apps play a critical role in the purchase process. Over 60% of hyper-connected mobile users use mobile search to find information. In-store, mobile apps play a huge role with general search apps, store branded apps, social media apps, and location based apps leading the way.
  • Mobile users are receptive to ads. Seventy percent of mobile users are willing to receive information from retailers if the content is relevant to their needs. Seventy-five percent of hyper-connected users have clicked/tapped on mobile ads with 93% having purchased an item as a direct result of the mobile ad.
  • Mobile amplifies retail sales. In-store mobile usage should be embraced by marketers and retailers. These consumers typically convert at a 45% higher rate than non-mobile users and the hyper-connected segment spends on average 35% more than they had originally planned.


Mobile devices have moved to the center of consumers’ multiplatform universe. They have transformed the ways consumers search for local information and purchase products. Marketing to these consumers is and will continue to be a challenge as their behaviors evolve.

Marketing Tips

5 Ways to Help:

  1. Recognize consumers are always in the consideration mode. Whether they are in front of a desktop computer or using a mobile device, consumers want to be able to access information and seamlessly transition from one device to another. Using wish lists, setting up personalized content/profiles with product likes and dislikes, automatic notifications systems, and digital coupon storage are all examples of how businesses can utilize technology to transition between screens.

  2. Think of mobile as an in-store engagement tool. Businesses need to embrace and encourage mobile phone usage in-store. It’s not going away. Remove traditional friction points. Utilize customized apps to personalize the physical shopping experience. Encourage price comparisons and guarantee price matches. Do simple things like integrating coupons and loyalty cards into a mobile app and enable mobile payments and automatic checkouts.

  3. Remember location and context matter. Mobile shoppers will accept messages if they are relevant and have some sort of value. Utilize location-based marketing to offer coupons, sales alerts, messages about important events and more, as they go about their daily routines. When designing location-based campaigns remember relevant information makes for more effective ads.

  4. Utilize social media in your marketing efforts. Peer-to-peer communication is one of the most effective ways to sell something. Retailers using social media and social communities are stepping out of the traditional advertising model and allowing customers to help build the brand through their own discussions and recommendations. Social is a critical part of the mobile shopping experience.

  5. Have the ability for customers to review your products/services. Like social media, reviews are powerful advertising tools. Mobile users tend to trust the experiences of their peers more than advertisements. They can access this information while they shop and use it to help make purchasing decisions. Being able to read reviews and see detailed product information while shopping creates a comprehensive buying experience that can help drive sales.



Jason Peaslee

Jason Peaslee is the Managing Partner of Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm. His career spans more than 20 years in marketing, advertising, product development, research, and business management. Before founding Thrive Analytics in 2010, he held several senior leadership roles at AT&T, Reynolds & Reynolds, Berry Network, & The Berry Company.

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