New smartphone research: One quarter of smartphone Internet users in top markets have made a purchase on their phones

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | 5:00 AM

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Yesterday we shared some topline insights into consumers’ love affair with their smartphones and why businesses must fall in love with mobile in 2012. Today we go deeper into key findings on mobile consumer behavior in six countries - USA, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Japan - from the new “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” research we conducted in January 2012 with Ipsos.  

Consumers love multi-tasking while using their mobile phones

  • In general Americans are the biggest mobile multi-taskers, with 81% having used their smartphone while engaging with other media.
  • 54% of UK smartphone users watched TV while engaging with their smartphone.
  • 36% of Spaniards exhibit true multi-screen behavior as they use their smartphones while also using another internet connected device such as their computer.
This offline media consumption causes consumers to search on their smartphones

  • Across most of these six markets, roughly 60% of smartphone users are searching because of an ad they’ve seen offline or in a store.
  • Smartphone owners in Spain lead the way in searching as a result of seeing an offline ad. More than two-thirds (68%) search because of something they saw offline, with 62% searching as a result of something they saw on TV.
  • Half of German smartphone users (49%) have searched because of something they’ve seen in a store, and one-third (34%) of French smartphone users have searched on their mobile due to an ad they’ve seen in a magazine.
More than 90% of global smartphone users are searching on mobile, making it a truly mainstream behavior


  • 99% of smartphone users in Japan have used a search engine on mobile. This means that practically everyone who’s gone online on mobile has searched on their phone.
  • Mobile search is a frequent activity. In most of these six countries more than 75% of smartphone Internet users search at least once a week.
Consumers Take Action After Looking for Local Information
  • 92% of Americans use their smartphones to look for information about local businesses or services.
  • Local information seekers take action. 81% of French smartphone users who’ve looked for local information then acted on it with a quarter (26%) having called the business and 43% having visited the business.
  • Globally, 1 out 5 smartphone users in all six countries made a purchase after looking for local information, whether in-store or online.
One quarter of global smartphone Internet users have made a purchase on their smartphone


  • Japan leads the way in mobile commerce with 40% of smartphone Internet users having made a purchase on their phone.  One third of Americans (34%) and approximately a quarter of those in the European countries have made a purchase.
  • Mobile shoppers are frequent purchasers. Across all markets, more than 50% of those who’ve made a mobile purchase do so at least on a monthly basis. In Spain, 64% of mobile shoppers make a purchase at least monthly, with 15% purchasing on a weekly basis.
Smartphones Influence Consumer Purchase Decisions & Channels
  • Nearly one in four (26%) French smartphone owners say they intentionally have their mobile with them to compare prices and get product information. And the French say they have changed their mind about purchasing something in-store (19%) or online (17%) as a result of information they gathered on their smartphone.
  • Smartphone research also leads to purchases online and offline.  37% of UK smartphones Internet users have bought something online and 26% of German smartphone users have made a purchase offline in-store or over the phone after having researched something via their smartphone.
These insights into mobile consumer behavior have clear implications for businesses. The companies that make mobile central to their marketing strategies will have an advantage in engaging with the mobile consumer. Savvy advertisers should adopt integrated marketing campaigns to take advantage of consumers’ natural multi-tasking media behavior. Businesses should also develop cross-channel strategies that make use of mobile as a bridge between the online and offline world as consumers shop and look for local information.

Download the “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” report to learn more about mobile consumer behavior and smartphone usage in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Japan.

Posted by: Dai Pham, Google Mobile Ads Marketing

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