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Tablets, Smartphones Still Boosting Retail Sales

CHICAGO - Consumers are using smartphones and tablets to shop at an even greater number than expected, according to a recent study conducted by Shop.org, the National Retail Federation (NRF), comScore, and The Partnering Group. In fact, spending via these devices (or m-commerce) reached $4.7 billion, nearly nine percent of the total U.S. ecommerce dollars.

In June 2013, more than half (55 percent) of all retail related Internet time originated on smartphones and tablet devices combined, compared with just 45 percent originating from desktop devices. Specifically, smartphone Internet usage in June 2013 totaled 44 percent of retail Internet minutes, up from 17 percent in June 2010; and tablet Internet usage accounted for 11 percent of total minutes on retail sites.

During the second quarter of 2013, m-commerce dollars totaled $4.7 billion or 8.6 percent of total U.S. e-commerce dollars that quarter. Additionally, between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013, m-commerce grew 24 percent, compared to 16 percent growth in e-commerce as a whole.

When it comes to popular mobile content categories, retail was one of the fastest-growing areas among consumers. From June 2012 to June 2013, retail grew 49 percent as a content category on smartphones-just behind beauty and fashion, home and lifestyle, and instant messaging services. The report also found that online consumers use their smartphone and tablet devices for many shopping-related activities.

As for in-store mobile activities, in Q2 of this year 57 percent of smartphone users visited the same company's site or app while in the store, compared to 43 percent who consulted another company's site or app. The top reason consumers consulted the retailer's or another company's website or app was to view price differences.

Among those smartphone users who went to the same retailer's site, 59 percent wanted to see if there was an online discount available, while 92 percent wanted to see if they could get a better price somewhere else.

Smartphone owners also used their devices in store to take a picture of a product (23 percent), with 17 percent using their phone to text, call or send an image to family or friends about a product.

The report also found that 35 percent of smartphone owners in Q2 2013 used their device to locate a store with 24 percent using it to find coupons and deals, while 19 percent were looking up product availability.

Among consumers who made a purchase online in Q2 2013, 69 percent of those purchases came from desktop devices, compared to 34 percent from tablets and 21 percent from smartphones. The average spend in Q2 2013 was higher on smartphones compared to tablets; shoppers spent an average of $97 on smartphones, compared to $76 on tablets.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of smartphone owners in Q2 2013 used a browser to research product features, and 59 percent used a browser to find a store location or to find coupons/deals (53 percent). Additionally, 72 percent of smartphone owners report using only apps to make shopping lists, as well as 46 percent who do so to view daily deals.

Some of the top items being purchased during this past Q2 by phone include apparel and accessories at 37 percent and event tickets (25 percent) were among the top products that smartphone shoppers bought with their device during Q2 2013.

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