Smartphones and tablets may have reached a tipping point in becoming shopping essentials for moms, but they're still no match for mom's ultimate shopping resource: word of mouth from other moms. Research shows that moms trust each other first and foremost when looking for purchasing advice.
Nearly half (47.4 percent) of moms said reviews and ratings from other moms were the most important overall factor when making a purchase decision in 2012, according to a survey of more than 1,000 moms conducted by Alt12, a women's mobile network.
Another 9 percent cited recommendations from moms as critically important. Convenience ranked second, cited as the most important factor by about one-quarter of moms.
But the survey also found that mobile devices are rapidly becoming a formidable force in shaping mom's purchase decisions. Mothers are becoming increasingly comfortable using their smartphones or tablets to browse retailer offerings, look for discounts and compare products.
Mobile has become more than simply a nice accessory to augment the shopping process; it has become an essential step in the path to purchase, the survey found. Fully 70 percent of respondents reported using their smartphones or tablets to shop. And one-third of moms said the devices accounted for nearly half of their shopping time or more.
More than 90 percent of moms reported that they were shopping via smartphone or tablet at significantly higher levels than they had the previous year. This represents steep growth from 2011.
The majority (60 percent) of moms surveyed said they preferred to use retailer apps for help in making purchase decisions on the Web. The findings suggest that retailers who resist designing an app, or who have not invested heavily in one, are likely to see themselves at a major competitive disadvantage.
Nearly half of moms said they used social networking apps when deciding what to purchase, a reminder of the important role social plays in most moms' lives and its increasing entanglement with mobile access.
Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at email@example.com follow him @nedbsmith.Follow us @LiveScience, Facebook or Google +.