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Showrooming Trend: Older Shoppers Catching Up To Millennials

When it comes to a digital shopping companion, 35-to-54 year-olds prefer tablets to smartphones, the IAB finds.

The mobile phone may be a constant attachment throughout most people’s day, but when it comes to using a smartphone as a shopping tool, older consumers still lag behind their younger counterparts, the Interactive Advertising Bureau finds (You can read the full report here.).

Specifically, those between the ages 18 and 34 are much more likely to use their smartphones in-store as a shopping companion than those between 35 and 54.

For that younger group, the smartphone beats the tablet as a go-to shopping companion by 43- to 35 percent. In comparison, consumers aged 35 to 54 are more likely to use tablets than phones at 41 percent to 35 percent.

Checking Out The Showrooming

Additionally, IAB analyzes the impact of “showrooming” on shopping trends, where people compare online prices on a mobile device while in a physical store in the hopes of netting the same product at a lower cost.

The most likely path for a consumer to take while showrooming is to make their purchase in the store (57 percent), while 53 percent are apt to buy something online from a different store, followed by ordering online from the store they’re in later, from a desktop.

Those 18-to-34 year-olds show a higher propensity to engage in digital and mobile showrooming in the physical store. Overall, 67 percent of that age group have — or consider themselves likely to — showroom in order to find the best prices on products. The older group of consumers, while less likely to showroom than the younger, still had over 50 percent likelihood that they have or would showroom as well. Consumers older than 55 almost always buy directly from brick-and-mortar or directly through online desktop ordering.

“The use of digital and mobile devices as a core component of the shopping experience occurs slightly differently by age groups,” said Sherrill Mane, the IAB’s SVP for Research, Analytics, and Measurement in a statement. “If marketers and retailers want to reach the right audiences at the right time in the purchase cycle, they are going to need to understand these distinctions.”Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 2.55.44 PM

Other key differences between age groups, when it comes to smartphones vs. tablets, include:

  • 18-34 year olds are more likely to read a product review on their smartphones (44 percent vs. 32 percent general population) and less likely to do so on tablets (32 percent).
  • The younger group are also inclined to check prices on a smartphone (42 percent vs. 33 percent general population) and are less likely to do so on a tablet (32 percent).
  • Those who are 35-54 are more prone to use tablets to read product reviews, locate stores, check store hours, and check product pricing (40 percent vs. 35 percent general population).
  • Use of comparison shopping apps is another point of departure between the two generations of shoppers the IAB looked at. Consumers 55-64 most likely to use such an app (44 percent), while the 35-54 cohort are the least likely to tap into those sorts of apps (39 percent).

“With the holiday shopping season in full swing, consumers are turning to smartphones and tablets throughout the gift-buying process,” said Anna Bager, the IAB’s SVP/GM for Mobile and Video. “This report spotlights contrasts in how different generations shop on digital – significant differences that need to be considered in brand marketers’ strategies.”

About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.