Reliance on smartphones driving changes in consumers’ purchase habits, finds US study

A new study by ExactTarget finds that more than half of US consumers who’ve made at least one purchase on their smartphone have done so based on a marketing message delivered via mobile email.

According to the figures, 16% of smartphone owners have completed at least one purchase as a direct result of a marketing message they received on their handset and of those, 55% have completed a purchase directly on their smartphone, 43% have completed a purchase on their computer, and 35% report purchasing in-store.

Featured in Mobile Dependence Day, the latest in ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans and Followers research series, the finding is one of many new insights into how consumers are shopping, making purchases and becoming more dependent on emails, text alerts and mobile coupons delivered to their smartphones every day.

“With more than 89% of US online consumers owning a cell phone and 40% owning a smartphone, this is a watershed moment for marketers, said Jeff Rohrs, vice president, ExactTarget’s Marketing Research and Education Group. “Rapid smartphone adoption is transforming how consumers interact with brands and connect to the world.”

While calling, texting and emailing remain the most frequent daily activities for smartphone users, the study found consumers are increasingly using their smartphones for more than the basics.

35% of smartphone users check Facebook several times a day on their smartphone and 34% of people have checked a bank account balance on their smartphone. Just shy of 30% of smartphone owners have used their phone at least once to check in using location-based services like Foursquare or Facebook Places and 24% have scanned a QR code or barcode on their smartphone>

The report also finds that more than two-thirds of people would choose to keep their smartphone over an iPad or similar tablet computer (69%) or a game system such as Playstation or Wii (72%), while more than a third would give up their laptop computer (40%) or microwave (34%) to stay connected with their smartphone.

“A majority of smartphone owners are now comfortable making purchases with their smartphones,” said Tim Kopp, ExactTarget’s chief marketing officer. “However, as our Mobile Dependence Day report makes clear, smartphone messaging is driving purchases across all channels—online and off. Marketers must, therefore, look to optimize their messaging in ways that recognize the consumer’s mobility and control.”