March 16, 2012, 11:06 AM

29% of in-store mobile researchers wind up buying online

A new survey details how often consumers comparison shop on their phones.

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51% of mobile comparison shoppers who research in-store and buy online are between the ages of 18 and 39.

It’s a store retailer’s worst mobile commerce nightmare come true. 29% of consumers who use a smartphone to research a product while in a retail store end up purchasing the item online, many from Amazon.com Inc., according to a new study by market research firm ClickIQ.

Of consumers who used a smartphone to research in-store and then purchase online, 55% were men and 45% were women, says the survey of 406 U.S. consumers who have researched a product while in a store and purchased that product.

For store merchants wandering their aisles watching shoppers on smartphones, age is a key indicator of who is comparing products and buying online. 26% of consumers age 30-39 and 25% age 18-29 recently used a mobile device to research a product while in a store. The numbers fall drastically from there with only 12% of those age 40-49, 6% age 50-59 and 2% age 60 or over researching products in a store using a mobile device.

Some big retailers are being hit the hardest by this m-commerce activity. Respondents possibly visited more than one retailer but the study shows that the retailers most frequented for research were Best Buy Co. at 36%, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. at 30% and Target Corp. at 29%.

To find out what happened after the in-store research was complete, survey respondents were asked to state where they eventually purchased the product they were researching. Best Buy did the best job of retaining the sale. 35% of those that researched at Best Buy ended up purchasing at the Best Buy store with another 14% purchasing at BestBuy.com. However, 21% purchased the product from Amazon.com. The rest did not purchase. Of those that did their research at Target, 29% purchased at the Target store, 8% purchased at Target.com and 21% purchased from Amazon.com. Wal-Mart retained 26% who purchased at the Wal-Mart store and 10% who purchased at Walmart.com. Wal-Mart lost 24% to Amazon.com.

When respondents were asked why they made the purchase where they did, an overwhelming 67% stated price as the determining factor. Lagging behind are availability at 14%, product features at 8%, free shipping at 7%, and already at the store 4%.

Amazon.com is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Best Buy is No. 11, Target is No. 22 and Walmart.com is No. 6.

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