Shopping is one of the top uses of mobile technology, and seven of the top 10 activities customers perform on their cell phone are shopping related. At the same time, the number of omni-channel shoppers who use multiple digital resources to purchase in and out of the store is growing significantly, according to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Mobile Shopper Study. The findings also reveal that mobile adoption has more than doubled in the past year, with omni-channel shoppers spending up to double the amount of their in-store only counterparts. 

“Omni-channel shoppers are more engaged in terms of spending. They expect a frictionless and consistent shopping experience in and out of the store,” explains Courtney Keating, vice president, New Products for GE Capital’s Retail Finance business. “Retailers can cultivate loyalty by understanding the path-to-purchase and developing an integrated marketing plan that puts the customer at the center.” 

Insights gathered from the second Mobile Shopper Study reveal consumer preferences, including what shoppers want from their mobile experience and what leads them to visit a retailer more often. Key Study findings and insights include: 

1. Shopping is one of the top uses of digital technology – 61% of those surveyed have performed at least one shopping-related task on their mobile phone, and 36% have shopped from their Smartphone in the last three months – up 10 percentage points from last year.

2. Relevant offers to mobile devices motivate shopping behavior – 73% of those surveyed regularly take advantage of offers, and 69% are more likely to make a purchase if they have a coupon. Credit cardholders are the most adoptive of mobile and also a higher loyalty segment.

3. Customers use mobile technology in and out of the store – 40% of shoppers surveyed say they would shop a retailer more often if offers are delivered through their mobile device. The Study indicates that mobile shopping and financing tools are key to attracting customers.

4. More online research is conducted for higher priced items – A quarter of customers surveyed conduct online research before making a purchase – this number nearly doubles at the price threshold of $116.

5. Credit cardholders are more digitally enabled and engaged shoppers – Smartphone ownership of 74% for retail cardholders is 22% higher than the national sample. Tablet ownership by retail cardholders is 16% higher by comparison and up 10 points since 2012. The Study also tracked the usage of mobile functionality, observing significant increases in mobile credit card applications, mobile service logins, and mobile payments, all of which has more than doubled year-over-year.

The Study underscores the importance of mobile shopping and financing tools to attract customers. “Our cardholders have adopted mobile technology at a rapid rate. Because an increasing number of customers are using their mobile phones to shop, apply for credit and manage their accounts, we are focused on delivering a seamless shopping and payment experience,” adds Keating. 

The goal of the nationwide 2013 Mobile Shopper Study* was to obtain insights and shopper preferences that can translate into integrated strategies for retailers with an online presence to attract omni-channel shoppers. The Study, conducted by the Analytics Center of Excellence and Market Research Team of GE Capital’s Retail Finance business, explored the mobile shopping habits of 5,926 consumers in the second quarter of 2013. Online survey respondents included 4,708 GE Capital Retail Bank (GECRB) accountholders and nearly one-third were random shoppers, all who have shopped in at least one of the following retail categories in the past six months: apparel, appliance and electronics, department stores, home furnishings, home improvement, mass merchandiser, oil and gas, sporting goods, toys, warehouse club, and web-only. 

For 80 years, GE Capital’s Retail Finance business has provided consumer financing through major retailers and more than 200,000 small- and mid-sized businesses throughout the United States. GE Capital supports its clients with proprietary online services, marketing and sales tools, and through its Retail Advisory Services team, which provides strategic tools to map out effective programs and customized solutions to drive growth. Cardholders can manage their accounts with a suite of digital tools, including the online Consumer Center™ and mService, a mobile servicing platform available on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

*The GE Capital Retail Finance Annual Mobile Shopper Study represents two studies, comparing retail customers who began shopping online and in-store, with a similar group of retail customers who shopped via only one channel. Spending and trips were measured across more than 12 categories for nine months, indicating a lift in sales and trips for customers that migrate from single to multi-channel shoppers. 

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