STUDY: Mobile Marketing Isn’t Just for Kids Anymore

gty_smartphone_ll_130104_wmainThink it’s only Millenials clogging up store isles while pausing to check their smartphones for coupons and better deals on the items they’re about to purchase? Think again.

According to a Thrive Analytics study recently released by the Local Search Association, Baby Boomers and seniors are catching up to their younger counterparts when it comes to actively using their mobile devices throughout the local purchasing process. The data suggests that it may be important for businesses to invest in their mobile presence and marketing in order to attract and retain not just younger customers, but those of all ages.

While 97 percent of Gen Y respondents said they use their smartphones at least sometimes when shopping in-store, 69 percent of seniors and Boomers admitted to doing the same; sure, the younger crowd is still ahead, but the majority of the older crowd is taking part in mobile — that’s pretty huge.

Furthermore, the motivations behind these customers’ decisions to tap into their mobile networks in search of deals are aligned across every age group. The four major reasons that customers are increasingly utilizing their devices while shopping in-store are:

Desire for Better Prices and Discounts: Smartphone users of all age groups said that looking up discounts and comparing prices are their top reasons for searching on their smartphones in-store.

Lack of Guilt for Wanting to Be Better Informed: The majority of respondents (88 percent of Gen Y; 89 percent of Gen X; 87 percent of Young Boomers; 85 percent of Older Boomers & Seniors) felt that searching for deals via mobile while shopping makes them smarter shoppers, while very few respondents said they feel guilty or try to hide using their smartphones while shopping in-store (8 percent of Gen Y; 10 percent of Gen X; 8 percent of Young Boomers; 6 percent of Older Boomers & Seniors).

Open to Going Elsewhere to Purchase Products Based on Discovered Information: When these mobile quests yield better deals than the ones offered on the store shelves in front of them, respondents across all age groups said they were willing to stop moving forward with a purchase and go elsewhere. Of those who said they decided not to buy something based on new information discovered, the most common reason was because they found a better price online (47 percent of Gen Y; 46 percent of Gen X; 41 percent of Young Boomers; 41 percent of Older Boomers & Seniors), followed by product reviews and better prices at a nearby store.

Willing to Share Location and Receive Text Messages In Exchange for Deals & Loyalty Points: While Gen Y respondents were much more likely than older Baby Boomers and seniors to have ever “checked-in” at a local business or shared their location with others via their smartphone (60 percent vs. 30 percent), of those who have, the frequency with which they continue to “check in” is comparable across all age groups.

In a news release, Neg Norton, president of Local Search Association, explained how businesses might utilize this date to better reach their local customers:

“Mobile isn’t just for kids anymore. Boomers and seniors are catching up in their use of mobile throughout the local shopping experience. Businesses that fail to recognize the strong and growing prevalence of mobile usage by older generations will miss out on an opportunity to reach this large demographic with huge purchasing power…Local businesses have always wanted loyal customers and easy ways to stay in touch with them about their products. As smartphones continue to disrupt the local shopping experience, one thing is clear: local businesses have a strong opportunity to build ongoing relationships with those they most want to reach by incentivizing existing and potential customers through mobile offers and discounts. Additionally, local businesses have an opportunity with younger generations to leverage their interest in sharing location for social reasons to raise word-of-mouth visibility for their offerings.”