Mobile Use Now Surpasses PC’s When Searching For Local Information

New Study Shows 60% of American Adults Use Smartphones and Tablets When Searching Online for Information on Local Products and Services

TROY, Mich., March 11, 2015 -- For the first time, mobile devices are being used more often than PCs to find information on local products and services. That finding comes in a new study, ‘The “Mobile Fanatics” – How Mobile is Transforming Local Shopping,’ released today by the Local Search Association (LSA). The data shows that 60% of US adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline.

According to the US Commerce Department, roughly 70% of the nearly $18 trillion US GDP is driven by consumer spending that occurs within 20 miles of home or work. While e-commerce grew to about $300 billion in 2014, it’s dwarfed by offline purchasing. Annual retail spending alone is a more than $4 trillion market. Offline consumer buying is increasingly influenced by the internet, now more frequently accessed on mobile devices, to the tune of trillions of dollars per year.

The shift from PCs to mobile for “local search,” and smartphones in particular, is partly the result of the emergence of a new segment of “Mobile Fanatics.” These heavy mobile users conduct at least 10 searches per week on at least two devices from multiple locations.

“’Mobile Fanatics’ are a new and growing consumer segment. Understanding where and how these consumers find information is critical to make sense out of the new path to purchase,” said Neg Norton, President at LSA. “’Mobile Fanatics’ are ‘always shopping’ and considering products no matter their location, allowing them to be reached anytime and anywhere. The challenge becomes delivering relevant and engaging content when they pick up their devices.”

The “Mobile Fanatic” consumer base has already begun to limit the effectiveness of traditional marketing methods. According to the study, 40 percent of consumers use a desktop PC or laptop when looking for local information online, a nine percent decrease from 2014. The study highlights that the consumer path to purchase is no longer linear in today’s environment, and marketers must be able to capitalize on this process to reach customers when they are ready to buy.

“We are past the tipping point with mobile usage. Consumers are no longer tied to a desktop PC,” said Norton. “Consumers now cycle through online and offline media gathering information all the way through the purchasing process. It’s an exciting time for marketers knowing that with the right content they can influence a consumer’s decision at any time due to the rise of mobile.”

Additional findings in the report that can be beneficial to marketers and businesses include:

  • Mobile Internet Dominance: 52 percent of smartphone users look for local information in the car or on-the-go
  • Mobile Use in Stores: 90 percent of all users have used their devices while shopping; 54 percent of smartphone users look for deals and 51 percent of users compare prices
  • Mobile Apps on the Rise: 45 percent of “Mobile Fanatics” use store apps to find information about products and services while shopping in store
  • Mobile Ads Work: 70 percent of “Mobile Fanatics” who view mobile ads make a purchase; 80 percent complete the transaction within 72 hours of viewing a mobile ad
The study, conducted by Thrive Analytics for LSA, evaluated how the mobile device has changed the notion of the consumer and how markets can uniquely target mobile users during the search process. The “Mobile Fanatics” consumer segmentation was created using Thrive Anayltics’ annual Local Search Report, a comprehensive survey of 2,147 U.S. adults.

The study is available on LSA Insights, a database that consists of over 500 other reports as well as a local media performance and planning tool for the advertising and marketing community made up of over 350,000 past ad campaigns.


About LSA
The LSA is the largest trade organization of companies engaged in local advertising and marketing. LSA members provide local businesses with innovative and strategic offerings that drive consumers to take an action in the last mile – or the final steps – of their path to purchase. The Association is focused on elevating the industry through thought-leadership, advocacy, research and insights, and partnerships.

LSA has more than 300 members in 27 countries. Members include listing management companies, digital agencies, mobile and social media companies, print and online directory publishers, video service providers, and web design and hosting firms.

The Association offers industry news and perspective on its blog, Local Search Insider, as well as resources on its SlideShare page. Follow LSA on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.


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Greg Sterling
VP of Strategy and Insights
415.886.7276