Research participants were nearly twice as likely to give the correct response to a complex decision-making problem if they were distracted by a simple three-minute number-matching task before being asked for their answers, says a team led by Marlène Abadie of the University of Toulouse in France. A more-demanding distraction had no such effect: Participants had a 75% chance of giving the right answer after the easy task, but just a 40% chance after a tougher task or if there was no distractor at all. During an easy distraction, the brain seems to unconsciously enhance the memory of a problem’s essence, the researchers say.
There is no question that mobile is becoming an essential shopping tool for many US moms. According to a March 2013 survey from retail solutions company Alliance Data, more than half of surveyed mom internet users reported using their smartphone or tablet at least weekly for some aspect of shopping, whether it be research or buying. And 35% of respondents said they used their device daily for shopping purposes.
Mobile’s usefulness for shopping is easy to see. Convenience and a better ability to price compare were the top reasons moms’ reported using their device as they moved through the purchase funnel.
Clothing and beauty ranked as the top product categories for which moms shopped on their smartphones and tablets, at 56% and 47%, respectively. Households products ranked third, researched by 42% of respondents, a significant figure for CPG brands, which have already moved quickly into the mobile advertising space.
Showrooming—the practice of going into stores to compare products and prices, often using mobile to shop around—is common among moms, as well. At both electronics and big-box retailers, half of mom mobile shoppers surveyed said they used their smartphone or tablet to look up product and price info. This was slightly less common at clothing, grocery and shoe stores, but more than one-third of respondents still had shopped at each of these locations using mobile devices.
However, mobile is not the primary method US moms prefer for shopping. Only 11% of respondents said this was the shopping method they would choose, if given only one option. And according to December 2012 research from parenting app company Alt12, about two-thirds of moms said they did less than half of their shopping on mobile.
But as mobile browsing becomes more common, and retailers improve their multichannel efforts, there is no question that more moms will favor smartphones and tablets for their shopping and buying.