They may have paid a pretty penny for smartphones, iPhones, tablets and other mobile toys, but Americans are relying on the devices to serve as high-tech divining rods for bargains and year-end deals.
According to SapientNitro-GfK’s Holiday Shopping Survey, 67% of consumers plan to use their smartphones and tablets to find product deals, up from 44% last year; 39% will use e-mails from vendors offering deals; 38% agree that their smartphones have empowered them to find the best deals while shopping this holiday season; and 31% of consumers used their GPS/location feature on their phone to help with holiday shopping.
In the survey, conducted Dec. 9-11 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications (part of GfK Custom Research North America) on behalf of Sapient, 39% of the 1,000 or so polled said their use of digital devices has “enriched” their shopping experience so far this holiday season.
And nearly half of 18- to-24-year-olds (47%) agree. The firm quotes one respondent: “It was less confusing, so you don’t have to have [all] the papers with you -- the ads are right there on your phone. That was wonderful.” Said another: “Using digital devices makes it easier and makes me feel like I’m in control of the prices. I get better deals and better prices, and it’s enjoyable.”
The greatest proportion -- about 56% -- of respondents who said they felt empowered to use their devices to find deals are owners of tablet mobile devices. Almost two-thirds of younger consumers between 18 and 24 also said they were empowered to find deals via mobile devices regardless of the device they use.
“As the use of digital devices moves more and more to the forefront of Americans’ shopping behavior, the ease of findings deals with them -- whether through research, social media, deal sites, and the like – has eased the pressures of gift giving,” said Chris Davey, global head of commerce at SapientNitro, in a statement. He noted that the use of mobile devices as shopping tools -- to the extent that they make deal-locating easier --may have a big influence in moving products at retail, as 44% of consumers plan to spend less on holiday shopping this year than they did last year.
The firm reported that mobile use is up across the board this year. The firm said 67% of respondents plan to browse for products via mobile device, up from 44% last year; the same percentage said they are going mobile to do research, which is up from 48% in 2010; and 60% this year versus 40% last year said they are using or plan to use mobile devices to compare prices; and 48% said they are looking for deals via mobile, versus 35% last year.
SapientNitro used the results to promulgated a short list of mobile trends based on strong survey responses around mobile applications and features shoppers are using: 31% used their GPS/location feature on their phone to help with holiday shopping; 30% used a mobile app to search for or purchase a product this holiday season; 20% looked or posted something on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks to find or ask for advice on holiday gift buying; 18% used a mobile coupon at point-of-purchase; 19% used a QR code to find more information about a product.
Davey said GPS-enabled mobile computing is going to be big, particularly among tablet owners. “Imagine the day when you walk into a store and the retailer already knows something about you based on location-aware services. The implications for retailers -- in terms of targeted promotions or in-store navigation -- are fascinating."