Shoppers Still Prefer to Buy from Stores, Not Smartphones Credit: Smartphone Shopping via Shutterstock

Brick-and-mortar stores still have an advantage over online retailers among tech-savvy shoppers. Two-thirds of shoppers say they use mobile devices to look up information about retailers or products, but only one-third say they make purchases with their smartphones, according to new research.

Shoppers, however, are using their smartphones for many other things. In particular, shoppers said they use their smartphones to look up store hours, find a store location, search for product information and compare prices, according to a survey from Ryerson University's Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity.  Overall, 91 percent of the respondents said they had a smartphone. 

"These findings are telling us that consumers haven’t fully embraced the mobile online shopping experience for retail transactions," said Tony Hernandez, director of Ryerson University's Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity and co-author of the research. "However, they are using their smartphones and tablets as a primary source of information while shopping before they purchase a product or service."

Shoppers have not yet fully adopted the use of their smartphones for online shopping because of fears over online security and fees associated with data usage. Shoppers, however, are open to using smartphones more in the future. More than 40 percent said they would make a purchase with their smartphone in the next year, while 58 percent said they would download mobile retail apps in the coming year. Shoppers also said they would like to see retailers provide staff with mobile devices to aid in the shopping experience. 

"We’re seeing more retailers releasing mobile apps for consumers to purchase from their smartphones or help them make an informed decision before buying a product, so we’re interested in finding out how effective they really are," said Andrew Murray, an analyst at CSCA and a co-author of the report. "In today’s competitive marketplace and changing digital retail landscape, retailers have to keep their fingers on the pulse of consumers’ purchasing behavior. That is the key to connecting with customers, nurturing brand loyalty and, ultimately, generating more sales."

The research was based on the responses of 836 students at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Ontario.

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