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Majority of Consumers Now Use Mobile Devices to Act or Buy

March 8, 2018

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Think back to how you got information before smartphones existed. You probably printed directions before a road trip (or relied on a paper map you already had). Maybe you looked up movie times in the newspaper. Maybe you called a store to check its hours (or just took your chances and showed up, hoping to see the "open" sign).


And now? Well now, you and millions of other consumers turn to the nearest device at hand — the smartphone, tablet or desktop. In moments where people need to know, go, do or buy, relying on internet to make decisions has become second nature.


Google recently shared research data with us that quantifies this trend, showing how people use digital technology to make decisions and take action in their daily lives.


New Information From Google About Mobile Search


To get a better understanding of how people meet their needs in a world of limitless online and offline options, Google collaborated with the research firm Purchased.  Google asked smartphone users to take a quick poll several times a day for a week to examine what kinds of needs these users had throughout the day and the actions they took to meet them.


The result was more than 14,000 responses, ranging from choosing a restaurant for a special dinner to looking for coupons in the store aisle to planning a family vacation. Detailed in these responses were thousands of "micro-moments" when people turned to their devices for help.


By examining all of these needs, Google learned how consumers choose — both online and offline — to navigate their "I-want-to-know," "I-want-to-go," "I-want-to-do" and "I-want-to-buy" moments.


Research Findings From Google Study


Here's what the new Google research study found: 


#1: People Overwhelmingly Use Their Mobile Phones to Search and Decide What to Do


When a question or need arose, smartphones were far and away the most trusted resource reported by users.


In the study, 96% of participants said they use a smartphone first to search options and decide what to do. Study participants also reported they were twice as likely to use search than other online or offline sources such as store visits or social media. Not only was search reported as the most used resource, it was the resource 87% of people in the study turned to first.


#2: Mobile Search Helps People Make Decisions at "Micro-Moments" When They're Most Likely to Act or Buy


Study participants reported they relied on their mobile phones to help make informed decisions at the moment of taking an action or making a purchase. 


 In fact, 70% of users polled said that if they bought something in a store they had first turned to their mobile devices for information relevant to that purchase.  The study also showed that 92% of those who searched on their phone first then made a related purchase.


#3: Mobile Search is Used for More Than Just Immediate Needs