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I have made the point over the past couple months that our mobile devices have taken over as the primary consumer search tool for most of us and will take over for the rest of us in the near future. Yes, many still have a desktop computer which we use for work, to create documents, presentations and do research–the majority of our work related tasks. However, when the work day is done, we immediately switch to our mobile devices, smartphones and tablets, for all our consumer searching needs.

Why wouldn’t we? It’s far more convenient and comfortable to sit on our couch, recliner or at our dining room table or with our smartphone or tablet than it is to sit at those same places with our laptop. According to Nielson, a recent study found that 85 percent of smartphone/tablet owners use their device while watching TV at least once a month and 40 percent of them do it daily; that’s over the average of 34 hours per week American spend in front of the TV in early 2012.

This means from the new pair of shoes, to the coats, the iPad mini to the new car and even the new home you want to buy, the primary consumer search tool is quickly becoming our mobile devices. This holiday season, about 20 percent of the U.S. Adult population will use their smartphones to compare prices and research products while shopping in stores, a practice known as ‘showrooming’, according to IDC Retail Insights. This represents a 134% increase from 2011 alone when 20.5 million shoppers engaged in ‘showrooming’ and by 2015 the number of people using their smartphones for this practice will grow to 78 million. It’s estimated that ‘showrooming’ will influence between $700 million to $1.7 billion in holiday retail purchases this year alone!

The study goes on to find that big ticket items will be those influenced most by ‘showrooming’. Interesting, since a home purchase is typically the biggest purchase a consumer can make. In addition, there is no physical ‘showroom’ for real estate, just the community and the local market in which home buyers are looking. Knowing what we know about ‘showrooming’, seems like it would be relatively safe to assume that consumers armed with smartphones and tablets will be actively using those devices during their home search; whether it’s this holiday season or not, this practice is not going away, just growing.

Be prepared for real estate consumers increased ‘showrooming’. Make sure your website formats for all mobile enable devices, look into integrating QR Codes and Text Message lead generation to help steer consumers on their mobile devices in your direction and perhaps even look into building your own App. This is not a wave you want to miss as it will ultimately influence billions of dollars in transactions, home purchases included.

To see how your website looks on a mobile device visit www.TestMySiteNow.com.

Seth Kaplan is president of Mobile Real Estate ID. For more information please visit www.mobilerealestateid.com.

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