By Frederic Lardinois
Using a smartphone while shopping to find better deals or to look up product reviews is now pretty mainstream. There are some interesting differences between how Hispanics use their phones while shopping compared to the average U.S. consumer, though. While observing 15 Hispanic smartphone owners in Los Angeles and conducting a nationwide survey of 500 Hispanic smartphone users in late 2011, White Horse and digital advertising agency Sensis noticed that Hispanic users often prefer to shop with friends and family members – a use case that most mobile shopping apps currently ignore.
The study found that Hispanic users generally care less about reading product reviews while they are shopping and are more interested in the social experience of shopping with others. Indeed, 68% of Hispanic smartphone users in this survey said that they prefer to shop with at least one more person when buying expensive products. Even when they are just buying everyday items, just under 50% said that they would rather go shopping with a family member or friend.
The report’s authors argue that the current crop of mobile shopping apps is too “single-centric” for these users. Shopping list apps, for example, should effortlessly sync between different users. When shopping for expensive products, the users in this survey told White Horse, being able to get advice from friends is also more important to these shoppers than having access to product reviews. Indeed, just 38% of Hispanic mobile shoppers in this survey said that they had accessed product reviews on their smartphones. That’s a very small number, given that 68% of all U.S. mobile shoppers say that they have done this.
Overall, Hispanics are more likely to use the mobile web than the general market mobile consumer and are also more likely to own smartphones in the first place. Currently, however, most mobile shopping apps don’t really address the way these users shop. Because of this, the study recommends that these apps start adding more social features like automatically alerting friends when you scan a QR code inside a store.