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Mobile Shoppers Help Ring in the Holiday Season for Retailers



This holiday season could prove to be a mobile feast for U.S. retailers, new surveys indicate. Due to the increasing number of mobile users , predicted by research firm eMarketer to increase penetration by 50 percent in 2011, this could be the year that mobile moves the sales needle during the holidays. Retailers have taken notice and are planning accordingly.

Nearly half of smartphone and tablet owners surveyed by PayPal said they plan to make holiday purchases using their mobile devices this year, eMarketer reported. Much of that shopping will take place from home (60 percent), not on the go, according the survey, causing PayPal to dub this phenomenon "couch commerce."

Tablet owners seem more inclined than smartphone users to pull the holiday buying trigger early, according to a Google AdMob survey. Almost half planned to start shopping before Thanksgiving while only about a third of smartphone users said they planned to start shopping before the Thanksgiving turkey was brought to the table.

However, more looking than actual buying will be the rule for mobile phone users this holiday season, according to a survey by Mojiva, a mobile ad network. Researching product information (56 percent) tied with coupons/sales information as the most frequent mobile shopping-related activity in the survey, but nearly a third of shoppers plan to buy as well.

Those buyers won't be bottom-feeders, according the PayPal survey. When it comes to the amount of money mobile users are willing to spend per mobile commerce transaction, 40 percent said they would be comfortable spending more than $50. And nearly a quarter of those surveyed had already spent more than $100 on their last mobile purchase.

Retailers are not informing the growing mobile shopping phenomenon. A survey of retail chief financial officers by professional services firm BDO USA showed that 54 percent planned to invest more in mobile commerce next year and that 49 percent expected more than 10 percent growth from this channel this year, up 5 percentage points from 2010.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.


Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.