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I am presently trying to determine whether the creation of a mobile-friendly interface to an established retail site is worth prioritizing over other improvements; given that the present implementation is not mobile-friendly, it's no surprise that most mobile visitors bounce.

Interestingly enough, however, mobile users constitute a growing percentage of traffic - while my instinct and anecdotal experience would suggest that mobile users are primarily engaging in information-seeking behavior which will likely stop short of purchasing physical merchandise (over a mobile device, at least).

I would be interested to know if there are any studies specific to purchasing behavior of physical goods on mobile devices (apps don't count) or if anyone has relevant experience in this area.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted
  • Link - Here is a study that gives a great break down of mobile purchasing/research behavior from the Center for Media Research. Noteworthy is the amount of users who abandon the purchase becasue the site fails, or it is to difficult to purchase via mobile.

  • Link - Another study breaking down the use of a mobile/smartphone for shopping.

  • PDF from 2009, but the numbers are solid. Shows that even though a purchase may not be made via a mobile device, but ti most certainly would assist in finding the store, getting reviews, and overall decision making help.

Consumers worldwide bought 1.5 million items from eBay

The 18 to 29 years old age group is expected to drive a significant portion of mobile use this holiday season, with 37 percent planning to use their mobile phones during the shopping process. This group also ranks mobile/smartphones No.1 on the list of products or technologies that had the most significant impact on their lives (60 percent).

Among all survey respondents, nearly one out of five (17 percent) plan to use their mobile phones during the holiday shopping process, and among these consumers, more than half (56 percent) plan to use their phones to compare prices or find store locations (54 percent). Additionally, nearly half (46 percent) plan to look for product information, while about four out of 10 will use their phones to shop (42 percent) or read reviews (39 percent).


Ok so that was a lot of information. I hope that helps you make a decision.

It would seem that the trend is growing towards purchasing via mobile. I will personally say that I have both purchased from my phone and researched while in a store by my phone. Although the research that i did was to merely get information the sales person did not have available, and the purchase was still made.

So, while they may be information seeking, that information may still lead them to a purchase.

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Great info - making the case for a mobile-friendly shopping cart will be a little bit easier. Thanks! –  danlefree Nov 17 '10 at 16:31
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