Many new trends have come to light in a recent survey conducted by comScore on behavior of consumers conducting local business searches. Mobile devices now account for a very high percentage of local business searches and companies have the opportunity to gain a big competitive advantage by enhancing the search experience for consumers on small devices for local searches. This targeted survey was conducted by comScore and commissioned by Neustar and 15 miles. comScore interviewed more than 3000 users who regularly do local business searches.
One of the key takeaways of this survey is the fact that approximately 80% of searches done through a mobile device result in a purchase which means that conversion rate for searches done through mobile devices is extremely high. But, most of the businesses still do not comprehend the importance of the mobile web. Smart phones such as the iPhone and numerous android phones have changed the way people use Internet to conduct local searches. Most of the consumers interviewed in the survey were of the opinion that the user experience on a mobile device is not at par with the desktop as well as tablet user experience.
Some of the interesting findings of the survey are as follows:
Desktop-based searches have grown in 2014 as compared to 2013 but this increase has been influenced by the decline in searches on the non-search engine websites which stands at 6%.
The share of mobile devices including tablets in terms of local business information is growing at a fast pace and there is huge potential in this space. Almost 79% of mobile phone users and 81% of tablet users use their devices to search for information on local businesses. However, as the share of mobile web grows, so is the user dissatisfaction; as businesses are still not paying enough attention to the mobile user experience.
More than half of the consumers are of the opinion that mobile user experience needs to improve and businesses need to pay more attention to their mobile interface.
Another thing that has been revealed from the surveys is that consumers expect different things while searching on mobile devices as compared to searches on desktops/laptops. A high percentage of smartphone users use search on their mobile device to find information on the go. Similarly, more than a third of the tablet users also use the search function on their tablet to find information on the move. Therefore, these users do not want to be inundated with content on the mobile sites but they do expect basic information regarding the product/service such as addresses.
User expectations also vary between smartphone usage and tablet usage. As mentioned above, searches done on mobile phone result in a conversion rate of approximately 80%. On the other hand, close to 44% of searches done on tablet are made after 5 PM. This may be due to the reason that consumers find it comparatively hard to visit brick and mortar stores late in the evening. The conversion rate on tablets is also very high at 64% but it is decreasing as compared to last year. More and more users are using tablets to compare various factors for making buying decisions.
The survey results also bring to light another trend which has been the point of discussion amongst experts. The omnichannel retail trend is growing as the boundary between online sales and brick and mortar stores keeps blurring. The study found out that approximately 75% of the purchases made through mobile searches were completed in the brick and mortar store.
As far as the share of various industries in mobile search is concerned, the survey results were similar to the results for 2013. Restaurants still sit at the top with 23% share of mobile searches and auto dealerships and related categories have a share of 10%. The art and entertainment sector has cornered a share of 9%.
When it comes to market segments, 67% of consumers search for information related to health and fitness with same percentage of users looking for information on restaurants. 66% of users use mobile searches for information on financial services providers.
Brian Wool, VP at Neustar, is of the opinion that the survey results indicate maturation of the mobile web. Consumers today expect same user experience across various devices and businesses that are able to offer this will definitely come out on top in the era of smartphone and tablet searches.
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