Up to 60 percent of consumers used mobile exclusively to make a purchase decision in the categories of telecom, restaurants, auto, and entertainment, according to the latest research from xAd and Telmetrics in the third annual Mobile Path-to-Purchase report.
This is likely due at least in part to the satisfaction increase in mobile devices, up 2 percent from 2013, with 61 percent saying they were satisfied with information found on smartphones. And on tablets, that number grew 2 percentage points as well to 68 percent.
Top reasons for dissatisfaction, the study cited, included not enough information, slow connection, or a small screen; consequently, two of those three reasons are those which site owners actually have some control over.
With 2014 data showing 10.6 billion online visits made on a smartphone versus 5.8 billion on a PC, the report cited that device usage varied by time of day and search category.
Significant spikes in the restaurant category occurred after standard business hours – no surprise, around dinnertime.
More than 40 percent of consumers cited mobile as the most important media source for information. Illustrating the slow death of print publishing, only 5 percent cited print media as the most important.
When it came to the type of information mobile users seek in the categories studied, the research showed the majority used mobile to browse and research.
A percentage of mobile users searched for location and phone number specifically, with 73 percent saying they preferred a local number versus a toll-free number for the local business they're trying to get in touch with.
When it comes to shopping, smartphones experienced a 26 percent lift from 2013 as a crucial shopping device, with 29 percent citing it was the most important shopping tool in 2014.
One in four users studied said they utilized a mobile device on the entire path to purchase, from research, to comparison, to conversion.
"Capturing consumer engagement points throughout the mobile path to purchase is essential to optimizing mobile ad programs to reach consumers when they are most open to options for fulfilling their purchase needs," said Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics.
What mobile info or features were most important to those device users? The study showed a mix of preferences across categories studied like easy-to-find contact info, coupons, and good reviews.
And what characteristics helped consumers ultimately make a transaction? The right price, brand, and location all played a factor.
With mobile being a device for users to browse on, research with, and use for action-oriented tasks, it's becoming a key device to optimize for – especially when it comes to local brick-and-mortar stores.
"The impact of this increased mobile usage is significant and it isn't limited to on-device activity," said Monica Ho, SVP of marketing, xAd. "With mobile consumers looking to make decisions quickly and locally, mobile is also serving as a tool to drive in-store activity."
In the report, xAd and Telmetrics said that while the majority of overall commerce activity was still happening in person, mobile can raise brand awareness, influence decisions, and encourage visits to physical locations.
You can check out the report's accompanying infographic here.