Shoppers who use their mobile phones for tasks unrelated to retail tend to purchase things they didn't plan to buy and forget items they had planned to buy, reports a new study.The findings of the study are published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
The research team observed this effect even when phones were only used for part of the shopping trip.
‘Mobile phones are swiftly becoming the principal distractor for many consumers as a new study finds that people who chat, text, check emails or listen to music on their phones while shopping becomes easily distracted from the task at hand.’
"Our finding that phone use that is unrelated to shopping negatively affects shopping behavior was in stark contrast to beliefs held by consumers," said study author Michael Sciandra from Fairfield University, US.
For the study the researchers observed more than 230 participants in a simulated shopping task.
They found that consumers who are highly dependent upon mobile phones, characterized by excessive use of and reliance on the device, were the most at risk of deviating from a shopping plan while engaging in shopping-unrelated mobile phone use.
"Mobile phones are quickly becoming the principal distractor for many consumers, and they offer a unique form of interruption. Our findings may influence consumers' attitudes towards mobile phone use while shopping and persuade them to reflect on how these devices impact our lives, both positively and negatively," Sciandra added.