Mobile shopping goes majorly mainstream.

untitledFor years, the common perception has been that consumers tend to use their laptops, tablets or mobile devices to research purchases while ultimately visiting a store to make the actual purchase.

And up until now, most studies have shown that no matter what type of digital device consumers use to shop, large majorities prefer to complete the sale in a store or at the mall.

But now a new study is telling us something different. The research, conducted by questioning ~1,000 U.S. consumers by research firm Ipsos, shows that shopping frequency in physical stores hasn’t kept pace with the growth of smartphone shopping.

According to Ipsos, over the past year there has been a significant increase in the amount of smartphone shopping, with two-thirds of respondents reporting that they are doing more of this today:

  • Shopping more frequently via smartphone: ~64%
  • Shopping more frequently via tablet: ~60%
  • Shopping more frequently via desktop computer: ~57%
  • Shopping more frequently via laptop computer: ~57%

At first blush, these figures don’t seem startling at all, considering the rise in the consumer economy over the past year or so.  Moreover, ~41% of the survey’s respondents reported that they haven’t made a significant change in their frequency of shopping in physical stores.

But in considering the ways respondents reported how and where they’ve been shopping less frequently over the past year, the differences appear much more stark:

  • Shopping less frequently via physical store: ~30%
  • Less frequently via desktop computer: ~11%
  • Less frequently via laptop computer: ~11%
  • Less frequently via tablet: ~11%
  • Less frequently via smartphone: ~9%

It even goes further than that. The two groups which seemed most inclined to shop less frequently in physical stores were younger consumers (age 25 and under) as well as consumers who earn more than $100,000 per year.

Add to this the propensity for younger consumers to be using smartphones and tablets more often than their older counterparts, and it’s clear that some of the most prized demographic categories are migrating to smartphone shopping in a big way.

The implications for traditional retail could not be more clear:  adapt your business model or else.

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