Nielsen survey unveils how smartphone, tablet owners use devices for shopping-related activities

NEW YORK — More than three-quarters of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners have used their mobile devices for shopping-related activities, according to a recent Nielsen survey.

The survey, conducted during first quarter 2012, 79% of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners said they use their devices for shopping-related purposes. But Nielsen did find differences between the two types of shoppers. For instance, smartphones are used for on-the-go activities, compared with tablets. Smartphones were used more often when “locating a store” (73% versus 42% for tablets), “using a shopping list while shopping” (42% versus 16% for tablets) or “redeeming a mobile coupon” (36% versus 11% for tablet owners). On the other hand, tablet owners are more likely to execute a purchase through their device: 42% of tablet owners have “used their device to purchase an item,” compared with just 29% of smartphone owners.

Despite their differences, Nielsen said one of the most popular activities among both smartphone owners and tablet owners is “researching an item before purchase” (66% for tablet owners versus 57% for smartphone owners). It also is important to note that while tablet owners use their device to buy an item, both smartphone and tablet owners aren't likely using their devices to make payments (27% of smartphone owners and 28% of tablet owners), but that number is expected to rise in the years to come, Nielsen said.

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