People Make Stupider Shopping Decisions on Mobile Devices

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Researchers have found that consumers may make better shopping decisions using their PCs rather than smart phones or other mobile devices. This study differentiates between screen size and information reduction, which are often mixed up.

“The issue is not actually screen size, it is actually the fact that sites adjusted for mobile viewing reduce the information offered on the results page and require more digging around in the site for information,” said study researcher Lior Fink, from the Ben-Gurion University in Israel.

“Sites adjusted for PC viewing give more information right up front,” Fink said. In 2018, phones accounted for 47 percent of traffic to online stores and 36 percent of sales according to Adobe Analytics.

“Most e-commerce providers use ‘responsive web design’ to adapt the presentation of information to the device used,” Fink explained.

“While mobile-friendly presentation improves visibility, it reduces the amount of information and causes consumers to make decisions that are less consistent with their preferences,” Fink added.

From a pure decision-making perspective, the study shows it is better to simply present the same information irrespective of the device used.

Also see: Google Goes After Amazon, Debuts Shopping Platform

Consumers will find the information more difficult to view on mobile devices, but their decisions will be more accurate.

For the study, researchers conducted two experiments in the ‘Mobile Behavior Lab’ focused on choosing a fictitious hotel room among 11 room options.

Participants viewed the information either on a PC or on a mobile device.