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See Why Online Research Is Today’s Horse-Drawn Carriage

 

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At the intersection of technology and commerce, there’s no denying that history repeats. Take, for example, the growth of automobile ownership in the United States. A hundred years ago, the economy was irrevocably transformed when automobiles replaced horse-drawn vehicles. Today, the shift from personal computers to smartphones redefines how consumers get around – not in physical space, but in the emotional and intellectual space where they inform themselves and project their personalities. For market researchers who need to get inside consumers’ heads and understand their emotions, the implications are obvious.

 

The latest data documenting mobile’s ascendancy over the desktops and laptops that defined the era of online research come from Salesforce’s Shopping Index report for the second quarter of 2017. It looks at how shoppers access information about brands and products. And by every measure, mobile dominates.

 

First, to get some historical context on epochal changes in consumer preferences, let’s go back 100 years, to when automobiles put horses out to pasture.

  • In 1913, there were 1.3 million motor vehicles of all types registered in the United States. By 1917, there were 5.1 million. The Age of the Automobile had arrived.

Now here are some of Salesforce’s findings about digital shopping in the U.S.

  • Mobile devices accounted for 44% of purchase orders placed online in Q2 2017, up from 32% in 2015.
  • Orders placed on personal computers fell from 68% to 56%.
  • Traffic from smartphones to retail websites grew from 44% of all visits in 2015 to 59% in Q2 2017.
  • Factoring in tablets as well, traffic on mobile reached 65% of visits.
  • Retailers received 35% of their website visits on PCs in Q2 2017 – down 12 points from Q2 2015.
  • Mobile’s role also is growing among in-store shoppers: 59% used their mobile devices for shopping intelligence while inside a store.
  • Mobile traffic from social media sites to retail sites accounted for 11% of all online shopping visits in Q2, 2017 – up from 4% in 2015. For PCs, the 2017 total was 2%, up from 1% two years earlier.

“Social is fast becoming the face of the brand, an important part of the marketing mix, and the point at which shoppers interact with a brand for the first time,” the Salesforce report affirms.

 

Insights such as these are helping everyone develop some horse sense about how to reach today’s consumers, including the need to establish best practices for testing and measuring the effectiveness of social media advertising. But the decision to trade up from online to mobile research is only the first step in your journey into the Smartphone Era. Next comes picking the best mobile methodology.

As brands such as PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch and Warner Bros. have discovered, in-app, rather than “mobile optimized,” is the choice that fully exploits smartphones’ powerful research capabilities. For a productive conversation about how in-app mobile can meet your specific needs, just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.

 

And for an entertaining video introduction to in-app mobile research, just click here.