Over the last five years, the growth of smartphone adoption has altered the e-commerce and mobile shopping landscapes significantly. Today, more than 55% of mobile subscribers in the U.S own a smartphone, a 35% increase over figures reported by Nielsen in July 2011. This growth is likely propelled by one of the most valuable consumer groups, those aged 25 to 34, for which smartphone adoption has surged to almost 75%.

With such a significant portion of consumers owning smartphones, getting a good deal while shopping from your mobile device has never been easier. A wide variety of mobile apps and websites have sprung up to help consumers find whatever good or service they desire at the best price possible both online and off.

Of all the options available to consumers, mobile coupons have emerged as bargain hunters’ best friends. Google Offers and Groupon are two great examples of platforms which consumers can utilize to find coupons for the best deals near them.  As mobile shopping takes the center stage in the developing world of e-commerce, Chitika Insights conducted a research study aimed at uncovering what coupons mobile consumers are searching for.

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights analyzed millions of mobile search impressions from the Chitika Ad network, drawn from a date range of September 1st to September 7th, 2012. Only mobile search impressions whose intent could reasonably be related to coupons were included in this study. The Chitika Ad network is composed of hundreds of thousands of sites which generate hundreds of millions of ad impressions, ensuring a fair and representative sample.

Clothing and Restaurants make up the lion’s share of mobile coupon searches, together encompassing more than 50% of the market (27.8% and 22.4% respectively). Retail and Arts & Crafts coupons fall in at third and fourth place, making up 17.7% and 12% of coupon searches. Interestingly, the top four categories combined make up over 75% of all mobile coupon searches.

The data paints a clear picture. Consumers who are on the go and looking for a good deal generally are focused on either dining out, or finding the best price for that new pair of shoes or leather jacket. This is far from unexpected, given that both of these types of purchases fall more within the impulse category – finding a place to eat is usually a spur of the moment decision, while a discount on a desired piece of clothing is often the impetus to buy for fashion-conscious shoppers on a budget.

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