Mobile and video ace this year’s back to school report

Friday, August 10, 2012 | 6:00 AM

Today, shopping is no longer limited to the mall - it happens at home, waiting in line, or at the doctor’s office. If you’re armed with a smartphone, every moment is now a shopping opportunity. As retailers gear up for this month’s back-to-school shopping crunch, we took to the digital Main Street to find out how consumer shopping patterns have changed. Focusing on apparel shopping, we analyzed consumer shopping behavior from the point of sale backward, and surveyed apparel shoppers to understand shopping trends.

We found that not only is online research playing an integral role than in both online and in-store purchases, consumers are increasingly shopping on their mobile devices and using online video to inform purchase decisions. In fact, 4 in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video online. Here are a few highlights from the report:

Mobile devices bring the mall to you
Mobile shopping is not a sporadic activity limited to weekend trips to the mall. It’s constant and pervasive. More than 1 in 5 apparel consumers are using their tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for shopping. People are shopping on their mobile devices throughout all parts of the day - and not just while on-the-go. More than 69% of consumers shopped on their phone or tablet while at home, 31% while in a store, 28% while waiting in line, and 27% while at work.

People are using their mobile devices as shopping assistants by informing purchase decisions and helping them locate the best deal. Of people that shop on their mobile device, 56% compare prices and look for promotions, 42% read reviews, 38% search inventory, 16% scan bar code while in store, and 13% contact the retailer.


Video is the virtual fitting room
Aspects such as fit and quality - easily apparent in person - become harder to grasp when shopping online. Video has now filled the role as the virtual fitting room, enabling shoppers to hear personal opinions and reviews, and see the product in motion. In fact, video has become so influential that 4 in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video. Today, nearly 1 in 3 shoppers use YouTube to shop for apparel. So it’s no surprise that video ads top traditional media in encouraging purchases. Thirty-four percent of apparel shoppers are more likely to purchase after viewing an online video ad, versus 16% after watching an ad on TV.

Millennials (aged 18-34) are twice as likely than other age groups to rely on a video to decide which company to purchase from, and are regularly turning to YouTube for shopping advice. YouTube vloggers posting their latest shopping finds aren’t just sharing their recommendations with close friends, they’re sharing with an audience of thousands of subscribers and millions of views - MacBarbie07, a popular YouTube partner, has more than 100M views of her styling tips. And this fall we’re seeing even more shopping reviews on YouTube - there are nearly 600,000 shopping “haul” videos on YouTube, more than 35,000 of which were uploaded within the last month alone.



Digital shoppers are valuable customers
People who shop on their mobile devices and research with video tend to not only spend more on average purchases, but do so more frequently. We found that 1 in 4 mobile researchers purchased apparel more than 6 times in the past 6 months (versus 16% of non-mobile researchers). And 28% of video researchers spent more than $500 on apparel in the past 6 months, while only 2% of non-video researchers did.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next 5 years we’ll see a bigger change to shopping than we’ve seen in the past 50. Download the full report for more insight into this year’s shopping trends. Visit Think with Google to learn how you can leverage these digital trends for your marketing strategy this year.

Posted by Todd Pollak, Industry Director, Retail, Google

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