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NRF: 27pc of smartphone users to research or buy via mobile during holidays

Mobile devices like iPhones and Androids are becoming more popular among consumers and many shoppers plan to use these devices this holiday season to look for gift ideas, compare prices and find items in nearby stores. According to the survey, 26.8 percent of smartphone using will use these devices to research or make holiday purchases, and that number jumps to 45 percent among young adults 18-24.

“This reminds me of 1997 and 1998 when people just began using ecommerce for the first time,” said Larry Joseloff, vice president of content at NRF’s, Washington.

“There will be a group of folks that use their device to purchase this year and also as a cross-channel shopping tool,” he said. “Retailers need to make the experience richer to empower consumers.”

Retailers are expected to take advantage of consumers’ newfound dependence on mobile by offering more robust mobile applications and Web sites, along with enhanced features like mobile reviews, to cater to Americans looking to shop from their phones.

Holiday spending
Some findings from NRF’s first holiday survey imply consumers will not only be focusing on low prices and basic necessities this year.

U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87 on holiday-related shopping, a slight rise from last year’s $681.83.

As in years past, most holiday gift-givers will spend the largest portion of their budget buying gifts for family ($393.55) and friends ($71.45), though they will still carve out room in their budget for small tokens of appreciation for both coworkers ($18.26) and others ($34.82).

Mobile gift guides, click-to-buy and mobile wish lists should be the types of marketing retailers conduct this holiday season.

Total spending on gifts ($518.08) is expected to rise 2.1 percent from last year, which is in line with NRF’s 2010 holiday forecast.

Americans will also spend an average of $41.51 on decorations, $26.10 on greeting cards and postage, $86.32 on candy and food, and $16.86 on flowers.

According to the survey, 61.7 percent of shoppers say the economy will impact their spending, down from last year’s 65.3 percent.

Retailers need to have a mobile strategy in place to target cost-conscious consumers at the point of purchase.

Holiday sales
Another hopeful indicator: the number of people who plan to take advantage of holiday sales to make non-gift purchases for themselves will rise 8 percent this year.

Brands and retailers can implement SMS, in-application coupons and deals to push sales during the holidays.

“Price comparison and customer reviews are some of the most common mobile practices during the holidays,” Mr. Joseloff said. “There are some direct purchases as well, but the great potential from what I am hearing is a cross-channel tool – a silo-buster if I may.

“You should either be an early adopter or wait and let someone else make mistakes for you,” he said. “That is good food for thought.

“Don’t ask yourself what you should be doing in mobile. Instead ask why and have a good mobile strategy before jumping in.”

Final Take
Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York