Smartphone Holiday Shopping on the Rise . / Credit: Holiday Shopping Image via Shutterstock

Santa may have his elves, but shoppers have their smartphones, and they’ll be using them this holiday shopping season. New research finds that half of consumers own a smartphone and nearly 70 percent of those that have them will use them to do their holiday shopping. 

This could be good news for retailers. The research found that mobile shoppers will spend an average of 72 percent more than shoppers who do not use their smartphones this holiday season.

Consumers, however, are not using their smartphones simply to buy gifts during the holidays. Shoppers also say they will be using smartphones to locate stores, check and compare prices and obtain product information. Overall, 67 percent of shoppers say they will use social media, the Internet and smartphones to look up reviews of products.

"We anticipate that retailers will increasingly interact with mobile shoppers this holiday season," said Alison Paul, vice chairman and retail and distribution sector leader at Deloitte LLP, which conducted the research.  "Deloitte's research into smartphones' influence on in-store sales indicates that the conversion rate for shoppers who use a retailer's dedicated mobile application is 21 percent higher than those who do not.  This holiday season, branded applications, Wi-Fi connectivity and personalized, location-based promotions from retailers can enable shoppers to make an immediate buying decision in the store."

Customers will also turn to online shopping in a big way this holiday season. Forty-five percent of shoppers plan to shop online during the holidays, while 48 percent say their will use social media to look for holiday gifts.

Despite the push to online and mobile shopping, brick-and-mortar stores will continue to play a role during the holidays. Sixty percent of shoppers say they are more likely to buy products from a store if they have a knowledgeable and helpful staff. Consumers also say they are more likely to shop at a store if it they are willing to be flexible with their prices.

"The store continues to be central to holiday shopping, but its role and that of the store associate is evolving as the physical and virtual shopping experiences merge," said Paul.  "Associates should be more informed and empowered than in the past; they should have the ability to make price-matching decisions on the spot, and be well-versed on promotions and products that customers are viewing via the retailer's mobile and online channels."

The research is based on the responses of 5,089 consumers.

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