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Men More Likely Than Women To Shop Via Smartphone, According to Holiday Mobile Study

18-to-34-Year-Olds and Parents with Children Under 18 Are Big Spenders Via Mobile

NEW YORK, NY (December 15, 2014) — A new survey from the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and Precision Market Insights from Verizon reveals that men are much more likely than women to go beyond browsing and research on their mobile device to make an actual purchase via a smartphone (56% vs. 45%). According to the study, entitled “Holiday Shopping in a Cross-Screen World,” the gender difference is especially notable within the younger demographic, with three-quarters (76%) of male smartphone users ages 18 – 34 doing so in a typical month, compared to 59 percent of the females in that age category.

That coveted age group is also among the biggest spenders on mobile, with 39 percent of 18-to-34-year-old smartphone users saying that they spend at least $51 or more via smartphone in an average month, as compared to 27 percent of overall survey participants. Smartphone-owning parents with children 18 spend via mobile at a similar level. The study also shows that smartphones are second only to computers among devices used for shopping, with 40 percent of smartphone owners stating that they use their device to research products they are interested in. In terms of expectations for the winter holidays, when U.S. smartphone owners were asked for the most important reasons they will shop during the season via their devices, the top responses included:

  • Getting best price/saving money (51%)
  • Saving time (36%)
  • Making it quick and easy to search, research, find what I’m looking for (35%)

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. smartphone users said that they plan on researching, shopping for, or purchasing products via their smartphone this holiday season, with the most popular products or services being:

  • Clothing (36%)
  • Dining out (31%)
  • Music, videos, and/or books (29%)
  • Toys & games (29%)
  • Consumer electronics (29%)

Holiday-themed ads have definitely caught the eye of U.S. smartphone users, with 92 percent having seen holiday advertisements prior to Thanksgiving across a full range of media channels. In sharp contrast, less than a third (29%) said they had specifically seen holiday-related ads on their phones during the same time period.

“We see this research as reflecting the growing importance of smartphones among the multiplicity of screens, media devices at consumers’ disposal, signaling an opportunity for marketers to reach consumers at the time and place where they are already holiday shopping – on their phones,” said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President, Mobile and Video, IAB. “In addition, with smartphones, tablets, and other devices gaining traction as shopping channels year-round, it is important that we understand exactly how consumers interact with these screens to research, shop for purchase products, so advertisers can accurately target them in a timely fashion, as they are doing on other media platforms.”

Finally, one in five smartphone users said they plan to spend part of the week between Christmas and New Year’s, often called “New Device Week,” learning about and purchasing accessories for new devices received over the holidays. This provides a solid opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers via mobile who are already primed to spend.

“Conventional wisdom has held that consumers may not be as receptive to advertising messages during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but with nearly one in five American smartphone users planning to spend ‘New Device Week’ learning about and accessorizing newly received devices, advertisers have a unique opportunity to connect with an audience that is engaged and primed to make a purchase,” said Colson Hillier, Vice President, Precision Market Insights.

The complete “Holiday Shopping in a Cross-Screen World” study is available for download at

To view a custom infographic, along with an interactive version that calls out lessons to learn from personal habits, visit

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Precision among 2,013 adults ages 18 and older, among which 1,176 are smartphone owners. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. The organization is committed to professional development, elevating the knowledge, skills, and expertise of individuals across the digital marketing industry. The IAB also educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]

Precision Market Insights Media Contact
Adria Tomaszewski
[email protected]