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Mobile Devices Back to School Shopping

Mobile Devices Are Crucial for Back to School Shopping

Posted Aug 24, 2020

Summer is winding down which means students are prepping for the new school year. Technology has already changed the way consumers shop but the current pandemic has really made an impact on back to school shopping this year. While students and parents are prepping for a different kind of school year, mobile continues to play a big role in the shopping process.

To better understand the changing school year, AdColony conducted its annual Back to School Shopping Survey. The second edition provides insights into what consumers are buying during back to school shopping, online shopping preferences, and the effectiveness of mobile ads. Here are some insights from the survey.

Smartphone is still the preferred device to do back to school shopping but more consumers are using computers and tablets this year. The share of shoppers who prefer desktop/laptop and tablet has increased by 6% and 5% respectively. Shopping on a mobile device is the most convenient option while on-the-go but since most people are still spending most of their time at home, they have access to their other devices to make purchases.

Mobile devices are a crucial part of the in-store shopping experience. More than half of respondents use their smartphones to research competitor prices and look up product prices while shopping in-store. Other ways people used their phones were to receive discounts or take pictures for future reference.

Back to school shoppers can be receptive to mobile ads so long as the content is relevant. 55% of respondents said they have purchased something directly from a mobile ad which has gone up slightly since our 2019 edition of the survey. However, 76% of respondents said they would purchase from a mobile ad if the product were relevant. Advertisers should keep in mind that mobile ads can be really effective with the right targeting and placed in the right context.

Most consumers go to online-only sites for back to school shopping. When shopping online for back to school supplies, the top choice is online-only retailers like Amazon. Not far behind are retailers’ websites like Target, Best Buy, and Staples. Even though shoppers prefer to buy on their smartphones, only 26% of respondents preferred to access retailers’ mobile apps. Retailers should consider offering exclusive discounts or promotions on their apps to gain more engagement and purchases on that platform.

About the Study
The AdColony Back to School Shopping Survey asked consumers in the United States a series of easy-to-answer questions about back to school shopping revealing a generous amount regarding shopping preferences and patterns of behavior while purchasing items for the new school year in a variety of age groups. 

Respondent Profile
There was a good mix of respondents, with the gender distribution being 52% female and 48% male. A majority of respondents were 45 to 54 years old (30%). The survey was conducted in the United States with responses coming from 46 states.

Join the Conversation
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