Many more shoppers will buy holiday gifts on mobile devices (survey)

There might be fewer lines at stores this holiday season thanks to the increase of mobile purchases this year.

Online shopping has certainly helped out when it comes to shopping during the holiday season. Not only can consumers avoid lines from the comfort of their own homes, but there's a chance those lines could be shorter can many shoppers stay away.

Now consumers don't even have to be tethered to their computers to shop -- and many are already choosing not to do so.

At least 46 percent of consumers plan to make mobile purchases this holiday season, according to a new survey of tablet and smartphone owners from PayPal conducted with marketing research firm Ipsos.

Here's a snapshot of some of the more surprising results from the survey:

  • More than 60 percent of mobile buyers will make mobile purchases while at home
  • 51 percent of mobile buyers use PayPal as a mobile payment method
  • 35 percent of mobile purchases are spontaneous
  • 24 percent of mobile buyers spend $100 or more on their last mobile purchase

Dubbing the trend as "couch commerce," PayPal predicts based on this survey and the last several holiday shopping seasons that that after dinner on Thanksgiving Day (thus, when consumers are knocked out on the couch after eating) will be the first mobile shopping spike this holiday season. Thus, mobile shopping doesn't really require consumers to be mobile at all, but this is just the beginning.

Although PayPal hasn't released the specific breakdown, a lot more transactions are stemming from tablets than expected.

Laura Chambers, PayPal's senior director of mobile business, sat down with me during GigaOM's Mobilize 2011 conference in San Francisco on Monday and affirmed that tablets are one of the strongest growing areas when it comes to online payments, referring to it more as a "lean-back experience" as consumers can browse and research more than they could on smartphones.

The big difference, Chambers pointed out, comes in between optimized and non-optimized browsers. The bounce rates can drop massively, she warned, when online retailers don't optmizme their mobile sites to account for larger displays.

Analysts advise retailers that are looking to lure in early holiday shoppers to start drumming up offers and deals targeted towards these mobile buyers.

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