Almost a quarter of shoppers use their mobile phones while waiting outside retail destinations, whereas only three per cent use them while looking at products, according to research from Starcom MediaVest Group.
Last month, the Publicis-owned media agency used its own observational video techniques on 2,000 people around ten retail locations on London’s Oxford Street and in Guildford town centre.
The research observed which areas of shops were the most common for people to use their phones for non-voice related activities such as social networking, using apps and accessing the internet.
The study found that the biggest hot spot was just outside store entrances, where 24 per cent of people were using their phones in this way, according to Starcom.
Other hot spots were in and around escalators and in in-store cafes. Sixteen percent of people on escalators and nine per cent of people in cafes were seen to be using their phones for activities other than voice calling.
By contrast, only three per cent of people used their phones for non-voice activities while browsing shops and looking at products.
Of those consumers entering stores and those in between shopping displays, but not particularly browsing for products, five percent appeared to be using their phones for non-voice activities. Four per cent of those leaving stores were involved in non-voice activity on their mobile phones.
Steve Smith, head of thought leadership research at Starcom MediaVest Group, said the research could help advertisers understand where to target consumers with mobile ads.
He said: "The percentage of people using mobile in and around retail locations changes hugely.
"People are much more likely to be using their phones for social networking and unrelated activities in ‘in-between’ places in-store [rather than when they are looking at products], for example just outside or on escalators or between departments.
"Consumers are looking for content and retailers need to know where to create encounters with them via mobile and on what services."
Smith said he hoped that this initial research could help retailers, "better geo-target customers with relevant mobile content and messaging".
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