Smartphones currently influence 5.1 percent of annual retail store sales, translating into $159 billion in forecasted sales for 2012, according to new Deloitte research. For the first time in the industry, the in-depth study measures the "mobile influence factor"
on in-stores sales.
mobile influence factor captures the in-store sales driven by consumers' store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or other mobile application use.
Deloitte anticipates mobile's influence, based on consumers' smartphone use, will grow to represent 19 percent of total store sales by 2016, amounting to $689 billion in mobile-influenced sales. By comparison, direct mobile commerce sales will pass the $30 billion mark by that time, according to industry estimates.
"Mobile devices' influence on retail store sales has passed the rate at which consumers purchase through their devices today," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail & distribution sector leader. "Consumers' store-related mobile activities are contributing to – not taking away from – in-store sales, and our research indicates that smartphone shoppers are 14 percent more likely to convert and make a purchase in the store than non-smartphone users. This means that mobile is an important tool for retailers to incrementally drive traditional in-store sales, strengthening the relationship between retailer and consumer to increase engagement and loyalty."
To better understand the growing impact of mobile devices on the retail sector, Deloitte's retail & distribution practice and Deloitte Digital conducted an in-depth survey of U.S. consumers about how they use their smartphones to shop today and their likelihood of using them in future buying decisions. Deloitte Digital is a global service line focused on helping clients harness disruptive technologies to transform their businesses.
Nearly half (48 percent) of smartphone owners surveyed say their phones have influenced their decision to purchase an item in a store, and the study shows that consumers' smartphone use tends to be highest at or near the point of purchase. Based on Deloitte's survey, more than 6 out of 10 (61 percent) of smartphone owners who use their devices to shop have done so while shopping at the store, and more than half (52 percent) reach for their phones on the way to the store.
Image: Smartphone fashion