POSTERSCOPE MEDIA DIGEST - 2014 10
Understanding how consumers use their smartphones is key to how Posterscope plans OOH from a
convergence point of view and our recent partnership with EE embodies this philosophy.
In the article below we draw on a number of insight projects which have helped to formulate our view on the
importance and role of smartphones in today’s retail landscape and how this converges with OOH.
Physical retailers remain the dominant place for purchasing with almost £9 out of £10 spent in store
Every year as retailers compete for Christmas sales and positive end of year results, many articles appear
in the press around the growth in e-commerce at the expense of the high street. This year there was a
particular focus on m-commerce which highlighted how smartphones are now a threat to physical high
There can be no debate around the rise of e-commerce and m-commerce and the importance and use
of smartphones in the consumer decision making process. However, we argue that the specific act of
purchasing for the retail category is still dominated by physical stores in high street, malls and out-of-
E-commerce is growing and understandably this will affect high street sales. The British Retail Consortium
revealed that online retail sales were up 19% in December 2013 compared to December 2012 and high
street footfall was down 2.4%. However large percentage increases YoY can be misleading and it is useful
to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS)
demonstrates that in December 2013 online
sales only accounted for 12% of all retail
sales. So almost £9 out of £10 spent on
retail still takes place in physical stores.
This obviously varies by retail category but
still puts the importance of physical stores
Similarly, Christmas is an anomaly and always
dictates a higher proportion of online sales.
When looking at ONS data for the last 5
years, online as a % of all retail sales is
always over a fifth higher in December when
compared to June of the same year. There
could be many factors affecting this but the
Christmas gifting market is probably the
Smartphones and OOH Advertising –
A Convergent Solution for High Street Retailers
+ 22% + 28%
Internet as a % of all Retail Sales
(January Monthly Figures for Each Year)
Internet as a % of all Retail Sales (June and
December Monthly Figures for Each Year)
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
POSTERSCOPE MEDIA DIGEST - 2014 11
Smartphones are predominantly used for browsing not buying and play a major
role in Influencing sales in physical stores
When it comes to online sales it is laptops/PCs and in fact tablets over smartphones that are the key
drivers of this. Data released by Affiliate Window for October 2013 demonstrated that m-commerce
is growing rapidly with almost 23% of sales taking place on their affiliate web sites on mobile devices,
double the 11% in October 2012. However of this only 7.9% were on smartphones, 14.6% on tablets and
77.5% were still on desktops. Considering the penetration of smartphones is still far higher than tablets,
this is more testament to the phenomenal rise in purchasing on tablets.
So when it comes to smartphones we believe their current role in retail is predominantly one of
researching products and services, comparing prices and reading reviews rather than as a sales platform.
Smartphones can be a threat to physical retailers via showrooming, but we believe that they play an
even greater role as a key influencer of in-store sales and we have used a variety of research studies to
In November 2013, Google released their Mobile Path to Purchase Research commissioned with Nielsen
amongst 950 smartphone users, all of whom had made a purchase in the last 30 days. It corroborated our
view that most items that were researched on smartphones were not actually bought on these devices.
Across all the different product categories 82% had purchased in-store, 45% bought online (desktop/
tablet) and only 17% purchased via a smartphone.
Another great piece of research was commissioned by Deloitte in 2013 called Mobile Influence. In this
report Deloitte demonstrated how smartphones should be considered more as a driver of stores sales
than as a sales platform. They term this the ‘Mobile Influence Factor’ which is the percentage of store
sales where smartphones were used as part of the shopping journey.
In 2013 they believe the Mobile Influence Factor stood at almost 7% of store sales which is the equivalent
of generating £18bn. As seen in the graphic below, this is almost 4 times the £5bn of m-commerce
(mobile/tablets) and really proves the importance that consumers place on using their smartphones to
help them make purchase decisions in physical stores
Deloitte predicts the Mobile Influence Factor to grow significantly in the coming years and by 2017
smartphones could be influencing up to 15% of all store sales with a value of over £40bn.
The Mobile Influence Factor for each retailer
category is calculated individually and as expected
the importance varies hugely dependent on the
category. It appears particularly important for
categories where more research is required in
the decision making process. So for example
Electronics has a Mobile Influence Factor of 13%
and Home Furnishings 10%, compared to an
average of 7% for all retailer categories. By 2017
Deloitte predicts that the Mobile Influence Factors
for these categories may have risen to over 33%
(1 in 3 purchases) for Electronics and 22% (1 in 4
purchases) for Home Furnishings.
When these figures are considered, media
strategies that incorporate an understanding and
application of this mobile insight are no longer a
nice to have, but a necessity.
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Immediacy – What OOH advertising and mobile have in common
What both OOH advertising and mobiles have in common is immediacy. Through smartphones
consumers now have the ability to act immediately on impulses, desires and triggers using their
smartphones as a portable encyclopedia, map, comparison and review guide.
Similarly, OOH advertising with its proximity to retailers, can illicit an immediate response in the form of
driving consumers in store. Posterscope’s latest OCS survey demonstrates that 11% of consumers have
actually made a purchase in a physical shop/supermarket/restaurant or cinema in the last 7 days as a
direct result of seeing an OOH advert.
But the real advantage for both brands and consumers is when the two mediums converge. We now live
in a society where consumers are exposed to more content and communications than ever before and
patience is not a virtue as far as consumers are concerned. An immediate response is often vital to drive
a consumer from the awareness to the involvement stage in the purchasing journey, maintaining the level
of engagement generated by communications.
OOH advertising is often the inspiration and trigger for consumers when out and about to drive them
onto their smartphones. It is here that they can immediately gather information or access a promotion
that encourages them to visit a physical store there and then.
store visit response
Information gathering, shopping
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Moreover the Google Path to Purchase research demonstrated that consumers using a smartphone for
shopping related activities have a desire to make a purchase in the immediate future: 55% within the
hour and 83% within a day. It also proved that 71% of smartphone owners had used a store locator.
Google also conducted another piece of research on “The Role of Click to Call” in September 2013
amongst 3,000 smartphone users who regularly use mobile search. This highlighted the fact that 7 in 10
had used the click to call button for retailer questions such as business hours, making a reservation or
inquiring about availability or inventory.
So considering all this insight, smartphones could actually be the saviour for physical stores, compared
to their online desktop and tablet equivalents. They are often used by consumers to do shopping related
research when they are out and about and with a desire to purchase. Smartphones not only encourage
them to visit a store in their vicinity but also give them the reassurance and confidence to make a
purchase. And OOH advertising with its proximity to stores can be the ideal trigger to drive consumers
onto their smartphones.
OOH and Mobile Convergent Opportunities
Posterscope believes the convergence of OOH advertising and mobile is paramount in the media
landscape. It is particularly appropriate for bricks and mortar retailers along with the brands and products
they sell and one role for OOH and mobile is to make the consumer shopping journey as easy and
seamless as possible.
This could be in the form of providing opportunities for consumers to interact with posters in the proximity
to retailers and using their smartphones to access local information, directions, download special offers/
vouchers and to compare prices. All of which can encourage consumers to visit local retailers.
Another opportunity is to utilise data in planning, such as with EE’s mobile data. This helps to select
targeted poster sites in locations that are identified as hotspots for online mobile activity for a particular
retail category and are therefore more likely to reach consumers in a responsive frame of mind.
Such convergent opportunities are especially important over the next few years, particularly as Deloitte
predicts that by 2017 in-store sales will still account for over 80% of all retail sales and smartphones will
directly be influencing up to 15% of this with an annual value of £40bn.
To access the full presentation please click on the following link: Retail, Mobile and OOH
Please click on the following link to access the Deloitte Mobile Influence Report
Please click on the following link to access the Google Mobile Path to Purchase
Of consumers using mobile to
research, want to purchase
within the hour55%
Want to purchase
within a day