How Connected Devices are Influencing Purchase Decisions: Implications for Brands

How Brands Can Harness the Power of Mobile

Now more than ever before, connected devices represent a huge opportunity for brands to engage with consumers. The question for brands is: how they can harness the power of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs to do this more effectively?  Understanding how these devices are being used, how they complement each other and how they inform the decision-making process will all help marketers to connect with their intended audience.  Constant availability of always-on mobile devices means consumers are accessing more content than ever before, and how consumers use these devices to access media is enlightening for marketers and planners.

InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile ad network, and Mobext, the mobile marketing arm of Havas Digital, conducted a global survey examining the media consumption habits of over 9,600 respondents across seven different markets. The research was designed to enable marketers and media planners to better reach audiences and gain insight into the role that these devices play in the path to purchase.  Results demonstrated that consumers are spending significant time on mobile connected devices, with time spent on smartphones and tablets playing a critical role in purchasing decisions.

How media is consumed

Tablet and smartphone users are the greatest consumers of media, accessing content the most frequently. Their media time is broken up into regular “snack” sessions throughout the day rather than prolonged periods of browsing. U.S. consumers have rapidly changed how they consume media and make purchases. The survey data reveals that these devices add to overall digital media time, creating new, exciting entertainment opportunities. For example, over 60% of U.S. tablet owners spend at least 30 minutes each day accessing media content on their tablets and 52% use a tablet to fill what previously would have been “dead time.”

With that said, connected devices are also significantly cannibalizing other forms of entertainment consumption and shopping. When asked what activities they do less after owning a tablet, 29% of U.S. tablet users said they have reduced reading books in print. Another 29% of tablet owners claimed they reduced surfing the internet via their PC and/or laptop. Nearly half of tablet owners—48%—agree that tablets’ appealing design and accessibility make it is easier to access media content than on a PC or laptop.

Tablets are also the preferred method of filling in spare time, and one particularly interesting trend is the rise of “dual-screening” – using a connected device at the same time as watching TV. 59% of tablet users regularly interact with their tablet while watching TV, which is good news for brands. Nielsen statistics show that effective dual-screening makes brand recall 1.7 times more effective than TV advertising alone. For brands, there are clear advantages to be gained by synchronising ad placement across TV, digital and mobile to improve brand recognition and campaign effectiveness.

Shopping moves to mobile

The survey demonstrated that in-store shopping is reduced as connected devices allow consumers to shop in ways that are more conducive to their lifestyle.  22% of tablet users claim they have shopped less in physical stores since purchasing a tablet and 55% of tablet owners make purchases on their device in an average month.  Survey results show that tablets have become the preferred device at home and smartphones are preferred on the go.  Together, smartphones and tablets make up an increasing amount of the online activity previously done on PCs/laptops.  Users out of the home and in need of functional purchases consistently prefer making smartphone purchases. On-the-go shoppers complete the entire purchase cycle – from awareness to post-purchase social media—from their mobile device, surpassing PC and laptop use across the board. While transient shopping is held by the smartphone, tablet use peaks at home in the evening between 6 p.m. and midnight for most owners.  For big ticket purchases, 55% of respondents report they first learn about the product on their tablet, 53% actively evaluate the product and 58% saying they follow through with purchasing those goods on their tablet.

Implications for brands

Savvy media planners recognize that each type of device offers a unique opportunity, and that overall the full range of devices should be fully exploited to create a holistic advertising strategy. Marketers must be ready to use information such as location data to develop contextually aware campaigns, exploiting the specialized capabilities of each type of connected device to drive increased response and engagement levels.

The new retail environment requires brands to be active in mobile commerce. Our data shows that customers on mobile devices do not simply use their devices for browsing on-the-go; they also use them to buy at home. We have shown that consumers already rely on their mobile devices to search out and buy from their favorite brands, and successful brands will be ready for them.