While shopping, consumers can search for products by name or scan product barcodes directly from a phone's built-in camera to access key information before making a purchase. Shop Savvy supplies the app's barcode-scanning technology.
The mobile shopping tool also allows users to create wish lists of coveted gadgets and sign up for alerts notifying them when a product's price drops to a certain level, as well as product scans with friends via email or postings to Twitter and Facebook.
Despite the tough economy, consumers on average plan to spend up to 41% of their total holiday purchases on consumer electronic gifts such as digital cameras, smartphones and laptops, according to CNET's annual holiday shopping survey. Separate tracking data from price comparison site Sortprice.com released this week found that electronics, especially video games, are among the most sought-after items this year.
Aggressive discounting has also helped to bolster consumer technology sales this holiday season. Computer volume sales, for instance, increased 63% on Black Friday compared to a year ago, in part because of heavy cost-cutting. The average price of a notebook computer has dropped $160 to $500, and flat-panel TVs are down 20% to $535.
Additional versions of the CNet shopping app, developed with sister CBS unit CBS Mobile, are expected to roll out for the iPhone and other mobile platforms. Google's Android Market -- where the CNet app is offered -- now has about 20,000 apps, but still only about a fifth as many as Apple's App Store.