Who is behind the smartphone? An insight into mobile purchases

Published on 07th Apr 2017 in Marketing

Smartphones are quickly becoming an integral part of the product purchasing process. Most often, they are used for researching items online, rather than to enter the card details. Don't be fooled, though – the customer experience at this mobile stage has a huge impact on whether a sale takes place further down the line.

But who exactly are these customers and how can marketers best reach them? With a little help from Google's recent research into mobile trends, we've managed to discover exactly which demographics are pushing us to a mobile-oriented future.

Millennials are the masters of mobile

Unsurprisingly, millennials are a big part of the mobile shift. They watch videos, catch up on social networks and, most importantly for marketers, research and shop online.

Millennials were the generation to buck the desktop-first trend.

Here are Google's key insights into their buying habits:

  • 90% of 16 to 34-year-olds go online daily.
  • 75% of millennials go online via smartphone at least as often as they do on computers.
  • 55% of millennials use search engines to learn about products.
  • 40% of millennials conduct online research through their mobiles – more than twice the number of those aged 35+.

One of the main differences between millennials and previous generations is that millennials rely much more heavily on peer reviews to make their buying decisions. They use their smartphones to look for recommendations when shortlisting products to buy. However, the point of purchase is still usually made via desktop or in person.

Gen Z have the "mobile- first mindset"

Generation Z are the first generation to have been brought up with technology at their fingertips. Nicknamed the 'iGeneration', these 13 to 17-year-olds are causing marketers to change the way they're thinking. This begins with mobile:

  • 78% of teens use smartphones according to Google.
  • Gen Z, on average, got their first smartphone at just 12 years old.
  • Gen Z are more likely to use their televisions and gaming consoles to browse the Internet than their millennial counterparts.
  • 53% of teens 'mostly use smartphones for online shopping'. Almost double that of millennials (30%).
  • 61% of teens say that mobile is convenient, while 49% say they can find the best deals online.

This makes Gen Z mobile natives. – Having grown up alongside these technologies, it is no surprise that they feel comfortable using them.

We believe that Gen Z will value customer experience over all other factors in the future and this shift to seamless, instant, easy-to-use mobile is just the start.

Gen Z crave a frictionless, easy, multiscreen experience. Marketers must deliver this if they want to keep this generation on their side.

Who else uses smartphones?

The mobile share of global e-commerce transactions is predicted to go up to 70% by the end of 2017 (from 40% at 2015). This rise isn't just down to Gen Z and millennials – there are other demographics making an impact.

Digital mums

Though most fall into the millennial category, digital mums (mothers who use the Internet regularly, generally aged 18 to 35) are worth mentioning. They're quickly becoming a powerful force on the Internet. Many curate and create their own content each day, but they come into their forte with mobile online shopping.

According to Google, 4 in 10 mums with babies under one year old have used a smartphone to research products and seek advice. 1 in 10 digital mums who made a purchase online did so via a smartphone. This does not even consider the influencer power digital mums have - they often write reviews of products for other mums to benefit from – this is where their true power lies.

Generation X

Those born between 1961 and 1980 are considered part of Generation X, and though other generations are more prolific with online shopping, you shouldn't count Gen X out just yet.

43% of 35 to 44-year-olds and 21% of 45 to 54-year-olds have bought items through their mobile phone. They may not have grown up as 'digital natives' but they still appreciate the flexibility and availability of mobile shopping.

What does all this mean for marketers?

While knowing that most millennials and Gen Z-ers use their smartphones is helpful, you need more granular information to make an actionable plan that can increase conversions.

To glean this information, it is essential to track every touch point of the customer journey, whether your customer is a Gen Z-er browsing your website via their gaming console, or a digital mum examining your offer on a price comparison site.

Infinity is a sophisticated call tracking platform that can track both online and offline activity. For example, if someone found you via a PPC ad and then made a call, you can track this right down to the specific keyword they searched for.

To find out more about how Infinity can help your mobile customers, get in touch today.

Katie Leask Marketing Assistant

Marketing assistant who loves cake, rooftops, cocktails, Europe and going to bed early. Outside of work, I'll be photographing something, avoiding the gym or ordering Chinese.

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