Microsoft has stated that over half (53%) of mobile searches on Bing have a local intent — an impressive statistic considering that back in March, Google came out saying that local intent was behind one-third of of its mobile searches as well.
While it’s surprising, it really shouldn’t be. When most people pull out their phones to conduct a search on the go, many times it’s to find the nearest coffee shop, or to check the hours of a nearby restaurant, or to check movie times at the nearest theater, for example. This behavior is why all the major search providers are working on the concept of getting consumers from “search to store,” in hopes of converting the massive amounts of local search traffic.
Microsoft also put forward the following very compelling statistic about the differences between PC search and mobile search user behavior: 70 percent of PC “query chains” (essentially search tasks) are completed in about one week while 70 percent of mobile users do so in one hour. Mobile users are often expressing immediate interests or needs as opposed to people searching on PCs who may be doing research for later.
Smartphone users in particular (now 28 percent of the US mobile population according to Nielsen) are very focused and using their devices to navigate, literally and figuratively, through the physical world. Mobile gives people an opportunity to be online and in the world at the same time, and this is a powerful thing for retailers and brands alike. People on mobile devices are often looking for information and assistance to help them make buying decisions as they literally move toward the point of sale.