Mobile phones becoming go-to shopping tools in stores: report

Mobile commerce is taking off, but surprisingly often in actual brick-and-mortar stores more than you would expect.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

One of the bright sides to mobile shopping is that it gives you the leisure and convenience of being able to get necessary (and unnecessary) shopping tasks done from anywhere.

Funny enough, that includes inside brick-and-mortar stores too.

Many more than half of Americans used their mobile phones while in stores to make purchasing decisions during the 2011 holiday season, according to new figures from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The survey is based upon the responses from a "nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental United States," covering the 30-day period before and after December 25.

Specifically, slightly more than half of all adult cell owners used their phone for at least one of the following three reasons during the holiday shopping season:

  • Calling a friend while in a store for advice about a particular product
  • Looking up product reviews
  • Comparing prices to see if something was cheaper elsewhere

I can attest that I found myself using my smartphone for the last reason, which ended up actually making this past holiday shopping season the easiest I've ever endured.

For example, apps like Amazon's barcode mobile app made it so simple to just scan the barcode on a particular item, find out if it was cheaper or not, and then order it directly from my phone. Literally, I completed most of my holiday shopping within 5 minutes. (Of course, that doesn't include the time I took to actually go to the store, but sometimes you need to find inspiration for gifts outside of the home.)

While I do like to give business to mom-and-pop shops and local stores, we're still all on a budget. And mobile commerce platforms can make that a lot easier to meet.


Editorial standards