Study Reveals Consumers’ Mobile Shopping Behaviors

Devices Used In 24 Pct. Of Consumer Payments

Consumer dependence on smartphones is often derided as a distraction, but they have also become a vital mobile shopping and buying tool – whether in-store or from a living room sofa.

mCommerce isn’t one-dimensional. Consumers shop everywhere at anytime, and no two mobile users have the same behavior.

However, according to the Remote Payments Study conducted by PYMNTS in September 2018, behavior habits are shared by consumers based on income, age and gender.

More women (54.3 percent) than men (45.9 percent) use smartphones to make purchases. More women also purchase using smartphones while at home, at work or out with friends.

Higher-income consumers shopped more on smartphones than lower-income consumers. Specifically, those earning between $100,000 and $150,000 per year had a higher propensity to use mCommerce while at home, at work, in-store and while traveling locally, and those earning more than $150,000 had the highest mCommerce usage while in a car.

Shopping while driving has become a full-fledged digital commerce phenomenon. In-car shoppers spent $230 billion last year on items like food, coffee and groceries, mostly for immediate consumption, and this figure is set to increase in 2019.

Older consumers were less likely to buy via smartphone, but when they did, it was more likely to be from home (7.0 percent). Consumers ages 25-34 were much more likely to use mCommerce in-store (38.6 percent) and at work (37.7 percent).

While smartphones can act as a payment method, they are also a shopping aid. One in five (21.1 percent) said they discovered their most recent purchase while browsing on a smartphone. Proving that brick and mortar isn’t dead, one-third (32.2 percent) reported visiting a store to discover their latest buy. The most common method for discovery, though, wasn’t so much a method, as 41.7 percent of consumers already knew what they wanted before making a mobile purchase. Traditional advertising like TV (3.1 percent) and print media (3.5 percent) had the lowest influence on mobile purchases.

Certain purchases lend themselves more to mobile payments than others. For groceries, a large number of purchases (44.9 percent) occur in-store without mobile devices. This is very different from shopping behavior at mass merchants, where 43.8 percent pay via mobile remotely, and at QSRs, where it is common to use mobile to pay in-store (27.1 percent).

Mobile makes up around 60 percent of all digital restaurant orders, particularly at QSRs. According to the PYMNTS Mobile-Order Ahead Tracker, 44.5 percent of QSR customers prefer placing orders with employees in-store, which means the majority do not. That’s a large potential audience for alternative ordering and payment methods.

This is why so many QSRs have invested in mobile order-ahead apps or have partnered with third parties. Dunkin’ Donuts allows DD Perks members to order ahead and skip the line via On-the-Go Mobile Ordering. In March, Burger King announced a $5 per month coffee subscription through its app, and Domino’s is planning to offer in-car ordering in new 2019 vehicles.

Roughly one-quarter (24.6 percent) of consumers paid for a QSR purchase using mobile. Most did not enter a restaurant and skim the menu to decide what to order; only 2.5 percent shopped this way. More than twice as many (5.8 percent) already knew what they wanted, demonstrating consumers’ loyalty to a particular fast food chain. The most popular method of discovery by those who paid using mobile was online (13.9 percent), whether on a smartphone or not.

Digging deeper into which payment methods are facilitating these mobile transactions, debit cards (37.1 percent) and credit cards (28.7 percent) are the most commonly used. Interestingly, PayPal is the third most common mobile payment method at 9.9 percent, while branded options like Apple Pay (3.2 percent) and Walmart Pay (1.7 percent) had lower usage rates.

Consumers reported high levels of satisfaction with paying by smartphone; 60.5 percent said they were “extremely” satisfied. In-person payments at a kiosk or cashier had fewer extremely satisfied users (57.9 percent), while just under half (47.2 percent) felt this way about using voice assistants to pay despite the growing popularity of voice commerce.

Satisfaction with payment methods is closely tied to convenience and speed; 80.9 percent said mobile payments were convenient, and 38.5 percent rated them to be fast transactions.

Fewer cited fraud protection or data security, though both of those factors have been top of mind for QSRs that offer mobile ordering.