RIP Desktop? Mobile Is A Consumer’s Most Important Commerce Tool, Says xAd

Mobile is not just one important tool for commerce in today’s economy, it is in many cases the only or most important tool a consumer uses for commerce, proclaims xAd in their Mobile Path to Purchase Study for 2015.

In 2013, the second year of xAd’s annual Path to Purchase study, roughly half of all consumers felt that desktop was their most important commerce tool for searching products, comparing prices, and making purchasing decisions. This year, that number has fallen to just 14 percent. Mobile, on the other hand, has rise to where desktop once sat, surpassing computers as the most popular tool for making shopping decisions.

“To a consumer, their smartphone is more than a device, it’s an extension of the themselves, on-the-go and always-on — and as a result impacting every stage of this new, non-linear purchase journey,” writes xAd in the report.

Unsurprisingly, while mobile is the most important tool across the board, generation still factors into mobile’s popularity. Younger consumers tend to have a much higher rate of mobile usage, up to 3 times more likely than their elder counterparts. Mobile also tends to dominate quick, frequent purchases like restaurants and groceries, while having less prominence in bigger, more infrequent purchases like airplane tickets or furniture.

Because mobile is so central to many consumers’ lives, that means now more than ever, they are “moving targets,” as xAd puts it. That makes location central to targeting those consumers reliably. xAd notes that 58 percent of smartphone usage is at home, whereas it was once 31 percent a few years ago. This indicates that smartphones are not just an on-the-go tool, but a device that consumers are using all the time, everywhere.

The key then, according to xAd, is to understand the difference between intent, immediacy and context. It’s the difference between targeting ads that are calls to action when a consumer is out and available to make a purchase, versus targeting ads that are more awareness building when a consumer is at home browsing options.

Other takeaways from the study include:

You can read the full report here(registration required).