Who is the mobile shopper?

Women are now catching men in terms of mobile shopping in the US, while people with lower disposable incomes have shown the highest increase in the past year, according to new research from Nielsen.

Along with growing smartphone and tablet ownership, mobile shopping continues to grow.

As of Q1 2013, 84 percent of mobile consumers used their devices to shop within the past month, up 5 percent since 2012. In fact, more than a quarter of mobile shoppers said they make purchases more frequently using their mobile devices than they do using their PCs.

So who makes up this growing group of consumers using their mobile devices to shop on the go? It’s well known that women make the majority of household purchase decisions, but men were equally active in mobile shopping activities. Compared with men, women were more likely to use their devices for physical purchases.

Just as young adults have a higher adoption of smartphones and tablets, mobile shoppers also skew younger. The majority (57%) are under 45 years old and make up a growing share of mobile shoppers, and 34 percent are under 34 years old, up 5 percent from 2012.

Perhaps not surprisingly, consumers with more disposable income tend to be more active mobile shoppers, as 35 percent earn more than $100k. But the share of mobile shoppers with household incomes below $50k has grown the most since 2012, up 8 percentage points. Overall, mobile shoppers with lower and middle incomes incomes made up more than half of smartphone and tablet shoppers.