Google: Mobile And Video Research Drive In-Store Cell Phone Purchases

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Curious how consumers are making decisions regarding which cell phone to buy? Google teamed up with Compete on a study examining how the online consumer shops for a wireless device and we have the results of the survey and study exclusively. Google and Compete tracked consumers online and searching patterns, analyzed the behavior of those purchasing cell phones by tracking their behavior backward from the point of purchase, and surveyed buyers as well.

Some of the results aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, it is interesting to see what factors drive in-store purchases. For example, Google says that 72% of mobile researchers purchased their phone in store (vs. 55% of non-mobile researchers).

Watching video reviews and features on phones also helps drive purchases— 39% of shoppers used video while researching; 77% watched for more than 10 minutes. And 63% of wireless shoppers use search portals throughout purchase process. After viewing smartphone product videos, 64% became interested in specific smartphone models, 44% were introduced to smartphone brands not previously considered and 36% heard about the smartphone product for the first time.

Network reliability, cost of data plans and the actual phone itself all topped consumers’ most important considerations when buying a cell phone. For the most part, upgrades and the want for the latest gadget tend to drive purchases, with 48 percent of phone buyers available for an upgrade and 31 percent purchasing because they wanted the latest phone.

Basically, 45 percent of cell phone sales were completed in-store but online research heavily influences decision-making, says Google. And users tend to research for around 3 weeks before making a purchase. More than half of shoppers visited five sites for research, and were mostly considering two different devices when making a purchasing decision.

In terms of advertising, TV ads lead to the highest recall among smartphone shoppers, followed by online ads, email advertisements and search engine listings. When examining online resources exclusively, reseller websites, online reviews, search engines and social networks all drove purchases.

Kyle Keogh, Google’s tech industry director, tell us that while carriers account for a big portion of visits for research, users tend to buy their phones elsewhere. Essentially, carriers need to do a better job with closing sales, especially online.