The use of mobile in holiday shopping is much higher for millennial consumers than older demographics. According to new research from RichRelevance, three out of four millennials plan to use their mobile phone to shop this holiday, compared to 54 percent of middle-aged respondents. Millennials use the channel for research, 51 percent, to compares prices, 46 percent, to browse products, 44 percent, and to purchase gifts, 31 percent.
While research and browsing are popular, millennials say they do not use their phones to actually make a purchase because of site frustration and the small screen. While frustration and size rank as the top reasons for 74 and 54 percent of the respondents, the desire to see and touch an item in person was another hindrance for 41 percent of millennials.
In general, mobile has become a popular shopping research tool. Fifty-two percent of shoppers use their mobile phones to look up information before making a purchase. Millennials would, in fact, rather turn to a phone instead of a sales associate to get information about a product.
"Mobile shoppers are increasingly using their phones to research items—particularly expensive items—for purchase in the store," said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. "They're also using phones to replace store functions previously held by associates such as information and checkout. Successful omnichannel retailers are respecting the multitude of ways that Americans shop, and providing personalized digital experiences in the store, on mobile—wherever consumers are shopping."
Most shoppers will not purchase big-ticket items over a mobile phone. As many as 58 percent of respondents said they won't purchase anything more than $100 on mobile. In fact, millennials have the greatest hesitation, and 41 percent said they would not spend more than $50 on a mobile purchase.
Millennials are becoming an increasingly important demographic in the retail sector. This generation is impacting not only how consumers seek out product information and how products are bought, but are redefining the holiday shopping experience, as well—most recently by sounding off in the controversy over retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day. And it seems millennials will be out and about over the weeks leading up to the holidays, as this recent study by Simon Malls shows that millennials are more likely to shop at the mall this holiday season. That's right, the digital generation actually values the physical and social experience of shopping brick-and-mortar.
-See this RichRelevance study
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