For years, magazine publishers (and the brands who buy ads inside their pages) have enjoyed heavy impulse sales from bored supermarket shoppers, trapped in checkout lines, who find themselves leafing through Vogue or Cosmo while waiting to pay for groceries.
The problem has worsened in the past 18 months, as more than half of all Americans now carry smartphones, [John Loughlin, general manager of Hearst’s magazine unit,] said. Single-copy sales of U.S. consumer magazines fell 8.2 percent in the second half of 2012 from the year-earlier period, according to the industry group Alliance for Audited Media.
We told you about mobile supermarket blindness back in February, when Hearst discovered that single-copy sales of Cosmopolitan had declined 18.5 percent in the second half of 2012.
It’s a new and separate threat to “showrooming,” the phenomenon of shoppers comparing prices online and elsewhere on their phones while browsing in the physical store.
Companies are scrambling to get their in-store promotions placed in areas other than the checkout aisle, in order to ambush shoppers when they’re not looking at their phones.
The problem of “mobile blinders is a huge factor,” said Marshal Cohen, an analyst at NPD Group. “Companies have to rethink the in-store experience.”