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IAB Unveils Second Annual List of Top Mobile Shopping Savvy U.S. Cities

Highest Ranking City is Again Houston, Followed by Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York

‘Mobile Shoppers’ Study Shows Growing Adoption Is Shifting Shopping Landscape as Black Friday and Cyber Monday Approach

NEW YORK, NY (November 20, 2012) — As mobile increasingly becomes a keystone in the holiday campaigns of brand marketers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, in partnership with Prosper Mobile Insights, today released its second annual “Mobile Shoppers” study. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, the study reveals the exclusive IAB list of the most mobile shopping savvy cities in the U.S., with Houston claiming the top spot for the second year in a row. In addition, the report looks at how and where consumers access mobile devices, and how retail apps and digital coupons strongly influence what consumers buy and where they buy.

Houston’s number one ranking, driven by its mobile shopping versatility and dexterity, is closely followed by Seattle-Tacoma, which catapulted to the second spot from its number ten perch in 2011, followed by San Francisco, which is new to the top ten list. Among other notable changes, Boston made its debut in the top ten, while New York and Atlanta both saw slight declines. In comparison, Los Angeles and Chicago held steady in their rankings between this year and last.

The complete “2012 IAB U.S. Mobile Shopping Savvy Cities Index” is:

1. Houston
2. Seattle-Tacoma
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. New York City
6. Atlanta
7. Chicago
8. Dallas-Ft. Worth
9. Boston
10. Philadelphia
11. Washington, D.C.
12. Detroit
13. Tampa-St. Petersburg
14. Phoenix
15. Minneapolis-St. Paul

The rankings were determined by reviewing data about mobile usage patterns, as well as the frequency of usage among mobile-savvy shoppers across major U.S. cities. For research and survey purposes, “mobile shopping” refers both to completing purchases via a phone or tablet, as well as to using a phone or tablet to research or shop for products that are later purchased in physical retail locations or online.

“Mobile is a growing digital retail platform that provides consumers with incredibly valuable, timely and convenient information touchpoints for product research and purchasing,” said Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB. “Identifying mobile shoppers and delivering relevant consumer messages to them on the go, as they shop, represents a key opportunity for brand marketers.”

“Determining which cities are more receptive to mobile can be a critical component in driving successful campaigns that reach audiences in the palms of their hands,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director, Prosper Mobile Insights. “Whether planning for a last-minute holiday push or looking to mobile platforms for other advertising opportunities, this sort of regional intelligence can make or break a marketer’s efforts.”

Some of the other findings explored in this report include:

  • More than 80 percent of smartphone owners have accessed retailer websites or apps on their device
  • Sixty-eight percent of Americans owned a smart mobile device (smartphone, tablet, or eReader) in 2012, up strongly from 57 percent in 2011
  • Nearly half of U.S. consumers say they have a QR code (barcode) reader app on their mobile device
  • Smartphone shoppers are evenly split between males and females and tend to be younger than users who are desktop-based retail shoppers
  • Over half of smartphone owners, and nearly 30 percent of tablet owners, have used their devices in a store in the past three months

To download this year’s “Mobile Shoppers” study, please visit here.

To view the 2011 top “Mobile Shopping Savvy Cities” list, please visit here.


In creating the “2012 IAB U.S. Mobile Shopping Savvy Cities” list, IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence leveraged the Media Behaviors & Influence™ Survey, a biannual survey of over 20,000 consumers, conducted in June 2012. This is a large enough sample to yield data on mobile usage for each of the top 15 U.S. DMAs. The IAB examined four key data points: ownership of a mobile device (primarily smartphones or tablets), propensity to be influenced by mobile coupons, ownership of a mobile retail app on a handset or tablet, and ownership of a mobile social media app. For each of these data points, the IAB constructed an index for each DMA relative to the U.S. national average. The IAB then combined them into a single metric, weighting device ownership most heavily, followed by coupon influence and retail app ownership. Social media apps, as conduits for sharing shopping and other information, received a relatively lower weighting.

About Prosper Mobile Insights
Prosper Mobile Insights provides companies with advanced cloud-based technology-driven solutions delivered via multiple devices (PC/Tablet/Smartphone) from the Prosper Mobile InsightCenter™. This decision center provides a comprehensive view of how consumers are using mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. The insights illustrate how consumers are engaging with digital media, including ownership, purchase intentions, activities, usage, service, influence, and ultimately how new technologies are reshaping consumers’ lives. Prosper Mobile Insights™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development. http://www.prospermobile.com

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit iab.com.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]