October 15, 2013, 3:32 PM

More men than women make purchases on mobile devices

Most tablet shopping occurs at home, including in the bathroom, SeeWhy says.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

In the last year, 22.2% of men and 18.2% of women have made a purchase on a smartphone while 20.4% of men and 16.9% of women made a purchase on a tablet, finds a survey of 60,512 U.S. online consumers conducted by online and mobile marketing firm SeeWhy Inc. By comparison, 57% of women and 52% of men have made a purchase online on desktops or laptops, the survey says.

These mobile commerce numbers are a bit different when looking only at younger consumers. Today, 21.6% of women ages 18-24 years old and 21.3% of men ages 18-24 years old have made a purchase on a smartphone while 19.8% of women ages 18-24 years old and 14% of men ages 18-24 have made a purchase on a tablet, the survey of U.S. online consumers says.

The survey also finds 4.2% of women clicked on an ad on a mobile device with the intent to purchase while only 3.8% of men did. Also, while using a mobile device in a store, females looked for promotion codes and vouchers 43% more than male respondents, the survey says.

The rest of the SeeWhy survey focuses on tablets. In terms of location, the home is the primary place that both men and women use their tablet computers for shopping. 44.2% of online consumers with tablets shopped on their tablets in the living room, 22.5% in the bedroom and 9.8% in the bathroom, the survey finds. Respondents could select more than one answer; the remaining 23.5% either do not shop at home on their tablets or did not answer the question.

The same percentage, 23.2%, of men and women use their tablets to research products for purchase later, the survey says. 21.1% of men and 25.1% of women explore shopping web sites and apps for fun, and 13.0% of men and 17.0% of women find a store and check store hours on their tablets, the survey finds.

But tablet shoppers are buying, too, and sometimes more than desktop shoppers, says Charles Nicholls, founder and chief strategy officer at SeeWhy.

"Analysis of conversion rates shows that evening tablet shopping is now getting higher conversion rates than desktop shopping, but this is not true for all hours of the day," Nicholls says. "Retailers should experiment with day-parting strategies, where assortment and promotional tactics are varied to optimize for different times of the day. For example, recommendations can be shown selectively at different times of the day in order to maximize conversions."

Nicholls also says that it is crucial for retailers targeting mobile shoppers to have an effective store locator on m-commerce sites designed for smartphones.

"We’ve known for some time that smartphones are used to check store hours and locations," he says. "Retailers with mobile-optimized sites need to feature this data prominently to make it easy to find on a small screen. Walgreens does this well: On the mobile version of the site there is a prominent Find Near Me button, which is unique to the mobile version of the site."

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