With retail groups predicting the Christmas trading period will be a strong one, retailers should make sure their marketing strategies take advantage of changing consumer behaviour, particularly the way shoppers are using their smartphones.

Research commissioned by PayPal revealed Australians expect to spend on average 24 hours researching and buying gifts, with one in five looking to buy more than 20 presents this Christmas.

Twenty-one per cent intend to use their smartphone more this year to search for and buy Christmas gifts. The most popular times to use a smartphone to shop online are when eating (28 per cent), on the toilet (19 per cent) or commuting to work (17 per cent).

This research echoes findings from mobile advertising platform InMobi, (well, not the toilet part), which adds that the most effective time to target a consumer is when they are using their smartphone to kill time.

InMobi’s 2014 Mobile Media Consumption report found that mobile is becoming an important companion particularly for in-between times — 86 per cent use mobiles while waiting for something and 73 per cent while lying in bed.

Time spent on mobile web represents only 10 per cent of mobile usage, with 89 per cent of time spent using apps.

Brendan Watmore, head of strategy for InMobi says this change in consumer behaviour presents an opportunity for retailers to connect with consumers.

“Mobile is not about doing new things, it’s about doing everything you are already doing but using it on a platform where there has been significant consumer behaviour change and tapping into that,” he said.

InMobi delivers ads inside apps. Its code is integrated into around 30,000 different apps globally and in Australia the company has a reach of 12 million devices each month.

“For a retailer who really relies on catalogues, it’s ‘how do I use mobile to distribute my catalogues?’ It’s really thinking about the same kinds of marketing tactics but executing them in a different way to capitalise on this new changing consumer behaviour.”

In-app advertising can act as an extension to a retailer’s eCommerce site by directing users from the app to an online store. This is definitely a trend Watmore said, but it is just as important to think for just getting a marketing message to a consumer when they are receptive to it.

“Consumer behaviour has changed and that’s what is creating a new opportunity; you are reaching someone when they are killing time, reaching them through a piece of content which they are happy to leave if they see a message which is relevant to them. Things are combining to deliver traffic more efficiently to advertisers.”

The other side of the InMobi platform collects data about the device and mobile behaviour, meaning the business can tailor an advertising campaign to target a specific location at a certain time through an app. For example a commuter on their way to work reading a news app may see your store's sale advertised while on the train.

The 2014 Mobile Media Consumption report also found that, in response to mobile advertising:

  • 69 per cent have downloaded an application.
  • 63 per cent have visited the website of an advertiser.
  • 51 per cent have located an advertiser on a map.
  • 50 per cent have visited a store for more information.
  • 44 per cent have bought something via their mobile device.
  • 40 per cent have called an advertiser by clicking on the phone number in the ad.