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(Graphic: Business Wire)

Successful local business searches conducted via mobile phones are most likely to result in an in-store visit when compared to the outcomes of searches conducted on other devices. Online mobile phone and tablet searchers, however, are more likely to continue searching and conduct multiple searches than PC/laptop users. Even more significantly, local business searchers using a mobile phone or tablet have a 78% and 77% likelihood, respectively, to make a purchase as a result of their last search, with tablet searchers skewing toward more expensive purchases.

Search via Apps is on the Rise – Facebook and Google Maps Dominate:

The study also offers a telling glimpse into other current trends, from application usage to social media. Application-based local search nearly doubled in just the past two years, significantly outpacing the SMS and browser markets. More specifically, of the mobile phone searchers who said they use applications to search for local businesses, 35% use Google Maps. Finally, turning to social media, 92% of those who searched for local business information on social networking sites from all devices used Facebook for that purpose in 2012.

What are Consumers Searching for?

There are also clear patterns in the choice of local search categories. The healthcare industry in particular needs to take note: pharmacies lead the pack with 86% of consumers looking for a specific pharmacy, while doctors and hospitals rank second with 75%. Banking and finance are not far behind (69%), followed by restaurants (65%). In fact, 23% of those surveyed said the last local business they searched was a restaurant.

"The greatest impact of the Internet is to offer access to information on a global scale, yet it’s equally important in driving business at the neighborhood level,” said Gregg Stewart, President, 15miles. “Consumers now expect accurate, easy-to-absorb information on local businesses on a variety of computing platforms, and those companies that can adapt to this new world have the most to gain.”

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