Smartphones have large impact on US searching and shopping behavior

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | 1:59 PM

Today we continue our  exploration of regional findings from the new 2012 Our Mobile Planet research and examine smartphone behavior in the United States.

Smartphones have taken America by storm. In less than a year, smartphone penetration in the US has jumped more than 10%. 44% of Americans now own a smartphone and the new 2012 Our Mobile Planet smartphone research shows that they’ve become  increasingly indispensable to our daily lives. Smartphones continue to transform core consumer behavior, from how we connect with others, keep entertained, search, shop and look for local information. This has implications for marketers who now have more opportunity to reach the constantly connected consumer.  You can see many of the key findings on US mobile consumer behavior in the infographic below.

Click to download US Mobile Consumer Behavior infographic

Highlights from the US Our Mobile Planet Smartphone Research

Many of the global mobile consumer behavior findings we shared yesterday are common for US smartphone owners. You can explore these findings using the chart builder tool on or get the topline insights by downloading the country level report. Today we explore findings from the US smartphone research and their implications for businesses via slides from the downloadable US country report.

Smartphones Provide Answers at Your Fingertips - Anytime, Anywhere
Smartphones are little portable computers in our pockets, allowing us to find information on-the-go or at home, whenever and wherever we want. Whether we’re trying to settle a trivia bet with a friend, find the nearest gas station or get the latest news, we’re increasingly using our smartphones to get the information we need.
  • 80% never leave home without their phones in hand
  • 71% use their smartphones at restaurants and 56% at airports, among many other locations
  • 62% have used their smartphone to go online seven out of seven days in the past week
  • 57% of smartphone searchers conduct searches everyday on their phones

What’s the implication for businesses of consumers having answers at their  fingertips and information at their whim whenever they want? It means your customers have more opportunities to become engaged with your business. You need to be where your customers are, and today that means they are on mobile.

This is important because 66% of smartphone users search as a result of seeing an offline ad. For example, 58% look for more information after seeing an ad on TV.   The new smartphone  research also tells us that 52% of smartphone owners use the Internet on their phones while watching TV. In fact, 86% are using their smartphones while consuming some other form of media.

It’s important to get your message found by consumers, as 61% of smartphone users only look at the first page of search results and 89% notice mobile ads.  Businesses should integrate mobile into cross-media campaign plans and understand that today’s consumers can easily be activated by the multiple screens and media around them.

Smartphones Transform the Shopping Process

Smartphones have significantly changed the way Americans shop and make purchase decisions. 96% of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to research product and service information.  35% intentionally have their smartphones with them to compare prices and find product info while on the go, and 32 % have actually changed their mind about purchasing a product while in a store as a result of smartphone research. Smartphones are thus making us smarter shoppers and are influential at the point of purchase.

Research  on smartphones also leads to purchases across channels. 37% end up purchasing online and 32% prefer to purchase in-store after having conducted research on a product or service on their smartphones. 

We also see that mobile is an emerging point of purchase as 35% of smartphone Internet users have made a purchase on their smartphone (not including apps purchases).  68% have done this in the past month. What’s more is that these smartphone shoppers are purchasing often  with  62% of smartphone shoppers saying they make some kind of purchase on their phones  at least once a month.

It’s clear that smartphones have become a critical part of the shopping process and an indispensable shopping tool that influences not only if consumers will make a purchase but also where. With this instant access to information all the time, smartphones are breaking down the walls between digital and physical worlds. Consumers will go where they can find the most convenience, the best price or the greatest customer experience.  Businesses need to understand this radical shift in core consumer behavior and implement cross-channel strategies that incorporate mobile. It’s also critically important that businesses have mobile-optimized websites as consumers research and buy on mobile, and a poor mobile site experience could make the difference between winning or losing a customer.

To learn more about US mobile consumer behavior, get the US Our Mobile Planet country report, download the infographic  or use the data explorer and chart builder on Get the data you need to understand the new mobile consumer and to help  shape your mobile business strategies.

Posted by Dai Pham, Group Product Marketing Manager, Google Mobile Ads