Contractors and trade professionals are relying on smartphones and other mobile technology like laptops and tablets to assist in purchase decision-making, according to a national research study conducted by Eric Mower + Associates Group B2B.
The study found that 50 percent of contractors use a smartphone, 49 percent use a laptop with mobile web access and 21 percent use an iPad or other tablet for their jobs, suggesting more business purchase research and decisions are being conducted online from the jobsite rather than behind a desk. Tool and building materials brands are most important (65 percent) to contractors when they are on the job and need to replace or replenish a tool.
Of those with a smartphone, more than half (53 percent) use it in the purchase decision-making process to do things like research brands and products, compare prices and scan product codes. The majority of contractors said they use smartphones (56 percent) to take photos of work projects to refer to when shopping for building materials and tools.
The survey found that 91 percent of contractors use websites to assist in purchase decision-making. The majority (88 percent) said manufacturer websites are the best sources for brand and product information; 70 percent said that product demonstration videos are important.
The study's results confirm that contractors are nearly on par with other B2B decision-makers in their use of smartphones. A December 2010 report by Channel Marketing Group and Allen Ray Associates reveals that about 50 percent of contractors they surveyed are using mobile devices to purchase products, conduct day-to-day business and take photos. According to a 2011 Emarketer report, 59 percent of U.S. B2B purchasing decision-makers use a smartphone.
The EMA study was administered online to 500 general contractors, electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists. More than 90 percent of respondents have at least six years professional experience.