NPD Study: Growth in Mobile Shopping Can Help Drive Brick-and-Mortar Sales

As the number of platforms available to shoppers continues to expand, many brick-and-mortar retailers are increasingly pressured to find ways to grab a share of their wallets by offering services that could help lure customers in stores.

According to The NPD Group’s annual holiday survey, a fourth of mobile shoppers plan to make purchases through their smartphones; they’re more likely than those who use other devices to buy online and pick up in stores.

With more than three-quarters of consumers expected to shop online this season, the market research firm noted that omnichannel retailers who give customers the option to collect their items in stores can help boost their potential for incremental brick-and-mortar sales. NDP estimates that one in five online purchases will be picked up at a physical location this year.

“The consumer’s adoption of mobile shopping can lead them to the store, where most impulse spending takes place,” said NPD’s chief industry advisor, Marshal Cohen. “This further demonstrates the importance of a seamless retail approach in keeping up with today’s retail environment, especially during the competitive holiday shopping season.”

Retailers including Walmart, Target and Nordstrom have found marked success with “buy online, pick up in store” model, allowing them to compete with digital pure plays and e-commerce giants by leveraging stores for online order fulfillment. Further exhibiting the growth of mobile, NPD noted that 39% of respondents said they plan to use apps more often during the upcoming holiday season.

That’s not to say brick and mortar is losing ground: The firm added that more than a half of purchases will be made in stores, driven by mass stores, national chains and department stores. Additionally, off-pricers continue to gain market share, with planned shopping at such retailers growing 3 percentage points from last year, the most significant increase amid relative stability across other channels, said NPD.

“Mobile shopping continues to gain traction as phone screens expand and retailer apps become more adept at offering the quick transaction experience consumers are looking for, wherever they are,” added VP and industry advisor Stephen Baker.

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