Michelle Clancy | 25-08-2013
Mobile shoppers use their devices most frequently in the home, opening a big door for brands to boost viewer engagement with their products by embracing campaign strategies that take into account the mobile screen and multi-tasking behaviour while watching TV.
According to Nielsen, more than two-thirds of smartphone owners and four-out-of-five tablet users are engaging in mobile shopping — often while watching TV.
The rise of multi-tasking TV viewing and second-screening— using a mobile device to interact with content about the show being watched on TV — is a proven phenomenon. According to the NPD Group, the majority of US consumers engage in simultaneous second-screen usage (87%) and complementary usage (47%). And what are they doing? “Viewers are interested in searching to find further information about TV shows they are watching,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD.
Now, that discovery behaviour is extending to advertisements and brand messaging. According to the Tradedoubler Insight Unit, 52% of Europe's connected consumers – people who own smartphones and shop online at least once a month – now have at least one performance marketing app on their mobile. These include functions for price comparisons, vouchers, loyalty or reward programmes, daily deals, group buying and cash-back sites and apps. The research also shows that more than half (55%) of the UK's consumers have used a mobile device to find out more about a product they have seen advertised on TV, and about a third (32%) have gone on to buy that product.
Even better for marketers, a majority of UK tablet owners 60% have looked up product information after seeing a TV ad, and 42% have gone on to complete that purchase in front of the TV.
Nielsen’s recent survey of connected device owners found that Americans lag their across-the-pond counterparts: one-fifth (20%) of tablet owners said they use their device to shop for what was being advertised on TV.

Still, “mobiles and tablets have become a crucial channel for TV advertisers seeking to maximise the returns on their budget,” said Dan Cohen, regional director for Tradedoubler, in a blog. “Even the best creative will suffer if it refuses to engage the audience on its own terms, and all the current research shows that that includes offering great deals via a second screen. TV advertisers who fail to do so may well find that they're ignoring a whole new generation of shoppers.”
Nielsen’s research delved deeper into exactly how mobile shoppers use their devices. For instance, tablet owners are more active with product research (59%) and are more likely to purchase physical items (38%) than smartphone shoppers (24%).
“We already know that mobile shopping is growing, in step with the growing group of smartphone and
tablet owners, but what kinds of activities are mobile shoppers pursuing?” the firm said in a write-up on the research. “Considering the varying mobility between tablets and smartphones, it’s little surprise that mobile shopping activities often depend on which device is used as much as where it’s being used.”
Mobile shoppers use their devices to check prices, and the majority of smartphone (63%) and tablet (53%) owners search and scan their way to savings, though more smartphone owners do this while in a retail store. Smartphone shoppers are more active outside the home, but they are more likely to do certain mobile shopping activities from home, such as reading reviews and using social media to make a comment on a purchase.
Even though smartphones and tablets are made to be mobile, some mobile shoppers never leave the couch while they’re shopping, as 95% of tablet shoppers and 72% of smartphone shoppers who make a purchase with their device do so at home, although tablet users are more likely to make a purchase overall.