It’s true that we now live in The Golden Age of Mobile.
And it’s also true that mobile commerce (also known as m-commerce) is on the rise in America.
But while more and more American consumers may be making more and more online purchases via their mobile devices, that doesn’t mean those devices are “cannibalizing” retailers’ in-store sales.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll of U.S. consumers revealed quite a contrary dynamic at play.
According to the March 2014 Gallup poll, mobile technology has actually played a positive role when it comes to driving in-person, in-store retail shopping.
Sure, more American consumers are using their smartphones to make purchases from their favorite retailers.
But plenty of those same consumers are also still visiting those retailers’ brick-and-mortar stores – in the real world.
Among U.S. consumers polled, some 22% said that mobile usage had actually increased their retail store trips – exceeding the 19% who responded that mobile use has decreased those trips. A full 59% responded that mobile has “not changed” their retail shopping habits one way or the other.
Another recent report, this one by renowned global consulting firm Deloitte, demonstrated that the use of smartphones and other mobile devices either before or during in-store shopping trips either influenced or helped to convert around $593 billion in U.S. in-store retail sales in 2013. That figure represented 19% of total brick-and-mortal sales, and was a massive improvement from the $159 billion figure from 2012.
That Deloitte report, entitled “The New Digital Divide,” also claims that “today digital technologies influence 36 percent or $1.1 trillion of in-store retail sales, and this number will likely increase to 50 percent of in-store sales by the end of 2014.”
The report also went on to wisely claim:
“Given this acceleration, we are at a tipping point in retail — a point where digital channels should no longer be considered a separate or distinct business. Instead, digital is fundamental to the entire business and the entire shopping experience, in and out of the store. As this new reality begins to have a greater impact, retailers should change dramatically the way they think, measure, and invest in digital, and address their customers’ digital needs and wants.”
Smartphones like the iPhone and other powerful mobile devices should only continue to find their way into more and more Americans’ hands as 2014 moves into its second half, and the use of tablets like the iPad seems to have hit a bit of an impasse as of late.
That equation should only spell more success for smartphone usage of all kinds, including m-commerce. Smart brands and retailers are already beginning to take Deloitte’s advice, utilizing in-store, location-based technology such as the iBeacon that informs and guides shoppers inside Apple Stores. After all, it only makes sense, as seemingly everywhere and anywhere you look today, you’re bound to find people walking around with their eyes glued to their mobile device.
What do YOU think about this emerging future – and its inherent merging of digital and physical presences (otherwise known in some circles as “clicks and bricks”)? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this hot topic.
Let us know in the comments section below this blog post!