Fed says mobile phones changing how people shop at retail stores
By Jay Keller
These findings were among several contained in Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2013, a report published this week by the Consumer Research Section of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (DCCA).
Fed researchers say that the rise in smartphones technology, especially barcode-scanning software, has allowed consumers to quickly and easily compare prices across retailers while in a store or locate an item that is out of stock.
This behavior has led to what retailers call “showrooming,” where customers visit retail stores to examine products and then buy merchandise online at lower prices.
Among smartphone owners, four in 10 say that they have used their mobile phone to comparison shop on the Internet while at a retail store and at least 30 percent have used a barcode scanning application for price comparisons.
A clear majority of respondents say their buying decision was changed after using their smartphone to comparison shop.
Data shows 70 percent of customers changed their mind about a product after reading product reviews on a smartphone while at a mall or shopping center.
And a majority of consumers who use phones to comparison shop in a retail store have changed where or what they purchased as a result of the information they found.
Consumers are slowly adopting QR codes to obtain product information with 34 percent reporting to have scanned a code published in a newspaper, magazine or billboard advertisement.
The Fed says approximately 27 percent of all mobile phone users are interested in receiving and managing discount offers and coupons on the their phones or receiving location-based offer.
On a related note, customers like to cross-check their bank accounts before making large purchases as many do so while at a mall or shopping center.
At least 60 percent of mobile-banking users have checked account balances and half have decided not to purchase an item as a result of their account balance or credit limit.