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In-App vs. In-Store Shopping for Mobile Gamers

Posted Nov 29, 2021

When it comes to making buying decisions, consumers’ habits are often hard-coded and ingrained deeply from years of shopping a certain way. Online shopping (on mobile in particular) has certainly risen significantly for many verticals in the past several years but many shoppers are still accustomed to buying in-store for some items. 

2020 accelerated the acceptance of mobile as the means for shopping for all kinds of goods in an unprecedented way. In-store shopping habits drastically shifted because leaving one’s house was considered a bad idea. Even in parts of the United States where COVID-19 lockdowns were “voluntary” as far as government mandates went, many stores still closed their doors for at least a few weeks. In response, consumers flocked online – and then to their mobile devices – to place orders. 

AdColony’s The Life of the Mobile Gamer Report takes a close look at how mobile gamers’ eCommerce habits have changed since the pandemic and how they shop in-app versus in-store. Read on for highlights from the report!


Mobile is the future of shopping.

It should come as no surprise that mobile gamers, like everyone else, are doing more shopping online and in-app than before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them online. Shops have opened again, but habits seem to have changed permanently.

In total, nearly two-thirds (64%) of mobile gamers will shop online half of the time or more frequently, including a small amount (2%) who will shop exclusively online. Nearly half (45%) of mobile gamers will shop in-store and online in equal amounts. Most importantly, only 4% of consumers will abandon digital shopping entirely given the opportunity to shop in-store.

If people were hesitant about buying things through screens before, they’re not anymore, and mobile gamers doubly so. Mobile gamers are also quite self-aware about their decision-making; 75% of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to shop online more than before with 38% saying it was a dramatic increase.

Almost half of mobile gamers are buying clothes online more than before.

Of course, not everything is easy to shop for online. Groceries have made a big surge, as have clothes, which traditionally were something everyone wanted to try on in “the before times.” Generous return policies eased concerns made way for a nearly 50% increase in respondents dropping dressing rooms for apps.

Items like personal care products and household essentials all jumped more than 40%, and even food and grocery items are seeing customers order digitally over traditional methods. In fact, nothing we asked about saw anything less than 14% of respondents saying they’re buying more through online means than before the pandemic.

It’s all about app categories when it comes to contextual targeting.

How do advertisers jump in and reach mobile gamers with these new insights? Privacy measures from Apple and Google have made device ID buying a niche audience strategy and the new core method of audience identification that advertisers need to rely on is contextual targeting.

As everyone in mobile (including AdColony and Digital Turbine) works on models that involve in-app behavior, and rough geographic location, it must be noted that the next most important part of context is app category. Where are mobile gaming consumers spending their time when they’re on their phones? If you’re familiar with our Modern Mobile Gamer report from last year, the fact that mobile gamers love Puzzle and Word games should come as no surprise. Mobile gamers who are buying more online are present across a healthy spread of apps and genres.

They’re also open to ads they see in these environments. The Life of the Mobile Gamer Report revealed that 41% of mobile gamers have clicked on the ads they see in games, and 36% visited the website after viewing the ad, while 18% are telling their friends and family about products and brands they see in advertisements while playing mobile games.

What does this mean for eCommerce brands, retail stores, and shopping services? It means that no matter what your product or service, mobile gamers are an audience you can’t afford to ignore, and they’re more open to hearing from advertisers than you might think!

Want to learn more about the consumer behavior of the American mobile gamer? The Life of a Mobile Gamer report has more on mobile gaming demographics as well as data on the car buying process, food and alcohol preferences, entertainment consumption, and more!  

About the Study

The survey was developed by AdColony and GWI and distributed online to mobile gamers. All figures in the study (unless noted otherwise) are drawn from GWI’s online research among U.S. internet users who are mobile gamers aged 16-64 via an online questionnaire. GWI only interviews respondents aged 16-64, and their figures are representative of the online populations of each market, not its total population. The survey garnered a total of 1,044 respondents in the U.S. over an eight-day period in Q2 2021.

About GWI

GWI is a target audience company that provides consumer insight across 47 countries to the world’s leading brands, communication agencies, and media organizations. The company runs a global survey representing more than 2 billion connected consumers, which offers up to over 40,000 data points on the behaviors and perceptions of internet users around the world. Using the subscription-based platform, clients including Twitter, Google, Spotify, WPP, IPG, and Omnicom Group can gather in-depth insights into audience behaviors, attitudes, and interests through a combination of survey data and analytics.

Join the Conversation

Are you shopping more online than before? Tweet your thoughts to @AdColony. For the latest AdColony mobile news and updates, follow @AdColony on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or connect on LinkedIn.

Jonathan

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