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Americans do it early, Europeans wait and do it late

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According to Opera Software’s latest research, this past holiday season, U.S. mobile phone users shopped early, while Europeans used their phones for last-minute purchases.

Europeans are procrastinators — at least that is what web browser company Opera Software’s latest research into users’ mobile browsing habits shows. This past holiday season, U.S. mobile phone users shopped early, while Europeans used their phones for last-minute purchases. E-commerce once again showed its power in the marketplace, according to research based on the visits to mobile-shopping sites by Opera Mini users during the 2011 holiday shopping season. The research shows that while the use of mobile-shopping sites continues to rise globally, visits to those sites over the holiday period was most significant in the United States and Western Europe. Secondly, use of these sites in these countries varied significantly, as shown below. Opera analysed mobile traffic to shopping sites from late October 2011 through December 2011 and uncovered these trends:

1. During this time period, the mobile-shopping audience saw its greatest percentage increase in the United States, rising 42 percent.

2. Significant increases in mobile-shopping audiences were also seen in Spain (36%), the United Kingdom (35%) and France (34%) during the same time period.

3. The timing of shopping behavior differed between Americans and Western Europeans. As shown in the graphic below, the U.S. market saw a major increase in shopping-site usage in the time period over Thanksgiving (we’re officially dubbing the time between Black Friday and Cyber Monday “Wireless Weekend””) and a decline to its average rate for the period through to the end of the holidays. In Spain, France, the United Kingdom and most other EU countries, mobile shopping increased in the first week of December and then, surprisingly, saw significant spikes right on Christmas Day. Because the data is anonymous and aggregated, there’s no way of knowing if people were frantically shopping for something better than what they were originally going to give. What we do know is that, whether it is for comparing products and prices, looking up reviews or actually buying things online, consumers are relying on the mobile Web as the medium for shopping to make smarter buying decisions.

What does it all mean? “”In looking at the report, it dawned on me that I was one of the Euro-procrastinators,”” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “”Maybe that’s why my family hated their gifts again this year. And, I thought everyone in Norway would think wool underwear and socks were great gifts. Next year, I’ll definitely use Opera Mini to do my shopping well in advance and also to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales.””

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