If mobile commerce had a reception gauge like cell phones do, its signal right now would be stronger than ever.

Nearly half of smartphone owners use or plan to use their phones to shop, a new 2,000-person survey by ABI Research discovers, and almost a third of all respondents also click on mobile advertisements.

Both statistics point toward an apparent shift in consumers’ shopping habits and suggest businesses should improve their mobile efforts, or even simply start a mobile campaign in 2011 with applications or other marketing tactics.

“We are entering a dynamic and creative era for retail, thanks to mobile,” Mark Beccue, senior analyst of consumer mobility at ABI Research, told BusinessNewsDaily. “I fully expect mobile online shopping to become a mainstream consumer behavior in the U.S. over the next year or so.”

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Consumers also are catching onto mobile banking: 53 percent use, or intend to soon use, their smartphones for mobile banking . Those without smartphones (17 percent) are interested in mobile banking and commerce services, too.

“Some (businesses) absolutely need to look at the investment in mobile commerce,” Beccue said. “Others, particularly if they are hyper-local and don’t have an online presence, less so. Even if they are small local merchants, developments in mobile marketing will impact their business.”

Participating in this mobile movement is important for small businesses , Beccue said, particularly for ones with an online e-commerce presence.

[Related: The App and You: Small Businesses Are Learning to Go Mobile]

“Developing a mobile optimized commerce site is a logical extension and there are managed service options for small businesses to do so,” he said. “These are very exciting findings for merchants and service providers promoting mobile commerce.”

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer Brian Anthony Hernandez at Bhernandez@TechMediaNetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and become his friend on Facebook (BAH Journalist) to interact or stay updated on news about small businesses.