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A new Parks Associations (www.parksassociates.com) study finds that over 25% of CE buyers in U.S. broadband households use mobile commerce apps on their smartphone to help with an in-store purchase decision, including functions such as product research, barcode scanning, and interaction with a retailer or brand app.
The research group's data reveals that 43% of U.S. smartphone users purchased a good via their device in the last month. However, consumers, especially shoppers at Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, are starting to use their smartphones while shopping in stores. Walmart in particular encourages in-store shoppers to use its app, but Parks Associates reports that currently Target shoppers are more likely than Walmart shoppers to use mobile commerce apps when shopping at any store for a CE product.
"Consumers are using apps and smartphones to enhance their brick-and-mortar shopping experience, with Target shoppers emerging as the most enthusiastic app users," says Jennifer Kent, senior analyst, Parks Associates. "Our research shows 54% of Target shoppers used at least one mobile commerce app while shopping in a store for CE, while only 38% of Walmart shoppers did the same."
Parks Associates analysts advise all retailers to embrace mobile commerce apps-both their own and popular third-party apps-as a way to give consumers a differentiated shopping experience that can combat showrooming. Showrooming is a phenomenon where consumers visit a retail store to compare products and prices but ultimately purchase items later online, reducing expensive brick-and-mortar locations to mere "showrooms" for products.