Hello and welcome to the future, where making purchases big and small is as easy as taking out your smartphone. Thanks to our rapidly-expanding digital world, you can use your phone to buy stuff online, and, in some cases, utilize a ‘touch to pay’ app in lieu of taking out your wallet and fumbling around for a card or some coins. Don’t burn your big stack of paper money just yet, though: according to a poll conducted by marketing research firm Harris Interactive, only one in five people living in the U.S. actually use their phones to purchase goods and services.
The poll, which was commissioned by Placecast (a location-based shopping alert provider), revealed that only 20% of polled adult mobile phone owners (out of 2,000) used their phones in the past year to make payments at a point of purchase, or via a mobile app or website. 62% said that having the ability to purchase stuff via their phones was ‘not at all important.’
Interestingly, Nielsen published a similar report based on data collected in Q1 2012, and the results were quite different. According to Nielsen, ‘the vast majority (79%) of US smartphone and tablet owners have used their mobile devices for shopping-related activities.’
So why the gap in numbers? Whereas the Harris Interactive poll tallied responses from smartphone and feature phone users, the Nielsen report exclusively polled smartphone and tablet owners.
However, the Nielsen poll demonstrates that even smartphone and tablet owners haven’t yet gotten the hang of using their devices as virtual wallets, with only 27% and 28% doing so respectively.
Ah, but there’s more to the shopping experience than simply walking into a store, pointing, and saying, ‘Gimmie dat.’ According to Nielsen, smartphones and tablets are extremely popular for price comparisons, item look-ups and research, and for making good old fashioned shopping lists (they’re not just for the refrigerator anymore!).
How does your phone and/or tablet come into play before and during a shopping trip?