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Mobile shopping app usage to skyrocket during holidays: study

December 8, 2011

Old Navy's Snap Appy iPhone app

Eighty-four percent of mobile users with downloaded shopping applications are predicted to use them to save money this holiday season, according to a new Pricegrabber study.

The study is proof that shopping apps will be a hot trend for retailers and brands this holiday season. The study looked particularly at the features that users will be interacting with on their mobile devices.

“Mobile shopping as a whole is up slightly this holiday season from last year, with more consumers beginning to recognize the benefits of checking prices, reading merchant reviews and purchasing directly from a smartphone or tablet,” said Graham Jones, general manager at PriceGrabber, Los Angeles.

“Since the most useful mobile shopping apps collect product data from several retailers and sort it so consumers can compare prices side by side from merchants to find the best deal, we suspect that many consumers are downloading these types of apps to enhance their brick-and-mortar shopping experience during the holiday season,” he said.

Mobile holiday
The PriceGrabber study includes answers from 3,574 United States online shopping consumers and was taken between Oct. 18 and Oct. 26.

Thirty-five percent of consumers surveyed did not own a smartphone and therefore were not included in questions about their mobile app use.

Of the smartphone owners, 39 percent of consumers said that they have shopping-related apps on their device, and 26 percent of users said that they did not have a shopping app downloaded.

The study found that 42 percent of smartphone owners with a shopping app said they planned to download new shopping apps this season specifically for holiday shopping.

Seventy percent of the consumers who said they wanted to download a shopping app picked a price-comparison app to help them shop in-stores.

Similarly, 65 percent of interested app downloaders said they would choose a mobile coupon app and 62 percent said they were looking for an app that used bar code scanning to help them comparison shop.

Hand held savings
Fifty percent of smartphone owners that planned to download an app this holiday said convenience was the main reason why they chose to shop via mobile with discounts and mobile notifications being the main reason.

Additionally, 44 percent of the same consumers said they used apps because they only have time to shop while on the go.

Thirty-eight percent of the study’s mobile app shoppers said they used apps to enhance their in-store experience with retailers, which shows how crucial retail apps are to serve both Web and physical store purposes.

The Pricegrabber study is not the only recent research that proves consumers are shopping more on mobile this holiday season.

For instance, PayPal claimed that global mobile traffic increased 516 percent on Black Friday this year (see story).

“Given the success of Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, it’s clear that the economic climate isn’t putting a damper on the holidays,” Mr. Jones said.

“The difference is that shoppers are even more ravenous for bargains and increasingly embracing technology to find these discounts,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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