There's more evidence to support the growing importance of mobile devices along the path to purchase.
According to Nielsen's fourth-quarter 2015 Mobile Wallet Report, 37 percent of respondents said their purchases start with mobile shopping more than one-quarter to half of the time.
The report compares mobile use from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the same period the year before. It found that shoppers are using mobile devices, particularly smartphones, to assist with in-store sales more frequently than for online shopping.
Roughly 72 percent are researching an item or checking prices on a smartphone before buying. Store locators are popular with 60 percent of smartphone users, and 55 percent are using mobile coupons.
Reviews are popular with slightly more than half of all mobile device users and 44 percent of smartphone users use digital lists while shopping.
Smartphones outrank tablets for just about every shopping-related activity, except for writing reviews and completing a sale or purchasing a service. Tablets were more popular by a 5 to 7 percent margin in these activities.
Still, shoppers are inclined to make purchases in stores, even those who use a mobile device in the process. Just 21 percent said they bought an item on a smartphone after going to a physical location.
Retailers should take note of shoppers' most wanted features on mobile. Product pictures ranked high with 62 percent and mobile-friendly websites with 48 percent.
App use is growing and increased 15 percent in time spent and unique audience year-over-year between fourth-quarter 2014 and fourth-quarter 2015.
After purchasing, consumers' predominant shopper activity is tracking order progress (65 percent), followed by visiting a retailer site/app on their mobile device to browse and/or shop again (51 percent). And 33 percent of consumers say they use their smartphones to sign up for a rewards program after making a purchase on their smartphone.
- see this Nielsen blog post