Couch Commerce Spans Researching, Reviewing and Buying

Americans are using smartphones and tablets for every part of the shopping process from researching to buying.


But in a new survey conducted during the first quarter, Nielsen discovered that the two devices are not being used for the same kinds of shopping-related activities.

For instance, U.S. consumers are most likely to use their smartphone to find a store and check prices, whereas tablet owners are more likely to do PC-type activities, such as researching products and reading product reviews.

Owners of both devices report frequently making purchases, including 42 percent of tablet owners and 29 percent of smartphone owners.

Last Christmas, the mobile shopping category first started to get retailers’ attention in a big way, leading to new vernacular such as “m-commerce,” or more fun things, like “couch commerce,” which conjures up images of consumers shopping while sitting in front of the TV.

Most retailers, like Amazon, haven’t started breaking out the mobile contribution, but eBay is forecasting that purchases made from apps or the browser on a phone or tablet will hit $8 billion in mobile gross merchandise volume this year, up 60 percent from $5 billion in 2011.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work