Mobile to account for 30% of US Christmas online spend

IDC Retail Insights has released figures claiming that mobile shoppers will account for over 30% of all money spent over Christmas in the US.

IDC’s survey revealed that the increase in mobile shopping will be down to the efforts of mobile shopping “warriors” (hyper-connected individuals) and mobile shopping “warrior wannabies” (moderately connected individuals). Between them the warriors will account for 28% or $127 billion of the $447 billion the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts US consumers will spend over the extended Christmas and New Year period.

The survey was designed to explore how consumers’ growing comfort with mobile commerce (m-commerce) and social media commerce (sm-commerce) will play out in the 2010 holiday shopping season. According to results, m-commerce and sm-commerce are giving consumers greater advantage as they engage retailers on their own terms – even inside the store – within arm’s reach of merchandise at the moment of their buying decision.

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“MSM-commerce introduces a new consumer shopping model which changes how consumers shop, not simply when and where they shop, as e-commerce has already enabled,” said Greg Girard, program director, Retail Merchandise Strategies at IDC Retail Insights. “It is clear that MSM-commerce already has an influence on consumers’ perception of brand value and their shopping intentions. We believe the retailers with superior mobile and social media commerce strategies in place will have a decided advantage.”

The survey also shows that it’s likely to be the youth audience that mostly buys via mobile. Young Adults aged 25 to 44 years comprised nearly two-thirds of the mobile shopping warrior group while they comprised slightly less than half of consumers surveyed. In addition, adults aged 45 to 54 years were the most inclined to use their mobile information advantage; for example, asking for a better price to match one they find on their mobile device while in the store.

Other key findings from the IDC Retail Insights survey include:

  • More than one third of smartphone-carrying consumers (who represent 24% of all US consumers) are ready to use their mobile devices in ways that transform how they shop everywhere and, in particular, how they shop in retail stores.
  • New behaviours facilitated by mobility, all of which can take place in stores, include searching for price and product information, checking merchandise availability, and comparing prices at nearby stores, browsing product reviews, and purchasing goods.
  • Consumers using multiple channels sequentially as they move from Web to store will give way to concurrent omnichannel behaviours as consumers bring their comfortable use of m-commerce with them into the store. These new behaviours will exert pressures that weaken the store’s immediate influence on purchase decisions “at the shelf.”
  • In general, social media doesn’t have widespread influence on shopping decisions but friends influence one another’s shopping behaviour on social networks and sites that have earned consumer trust will influence this behaviour as well.

“Consumers’ increased comfort with using their smartphones to go online anywhere combined with their plans to use them more in the 2010 holiday season signals the beginning of a significant shift away from the capacity of the store channel to hold sway over consumers as they move to a purchase decision,” concluded Girard.

Survey results will be available in a new IDC Retail Insights report, Outlook for Mobile and Social Media Commerce in the 2010 Holiday Shopping Season, to be published in early December.

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