Half of US consumers with smart phones use them to locate stores, find products and compare prices

Is RedLaser killing Bricks-and-mortar?

American consumers are increasingly empowered by their mobile devices when it comes to researching products and finding the best prices, with three in ten using it in the 2010 Christmas shopping period, so says a GfK Roper Poll for SapientNitro published just before Christmas,

The US survey found that Americans who own a “smart phone” – e.g., an iPhone, Blackberry, Android-based phone, or other type of Internet and application-enabled mobile phone – were using them to their advantage while shopping in the run up to Christmas 2010.

SapientNitro think that brick-and-mortar retailers should be worried about the trends particularly as:

• Three in ten (30%) say that, while at a store looking at a product, they tried to find a better deal elsewhere on their phone

• One in three (33%) say that while out shopping, they e-mailed or texted someone to tell them about an experience at a store – such as finding a great deal or a great gift

• One in five (19%) used their phone to post something on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or other social networking sites about their holiday shopping experience

In addition, half or nearly half used their smart phones to find a store location (52%), research specific products they were thinking of purchasing (48%), browse for products (44%), and/or compare prices (40%). About one in three looked for discounts, deals, coupons, or discount codes (35%) on their mobile phones, or checked product availability at retail stores or websites (34%).

“Portability is a game-changer in transforming the way that people shop,” said Chris Davey, worldwide head of commerce at SapientNitro. “Technology is causing some of the biggest shifts in human behaviour that we’ve seen in years, and consumers are more informed and empowered than ever. This has a major impact not only on the way that consumers shop but also on the way that retailers need to market to consumers this holiday season.”

“Mobile assets play an important role in making it easy for customers to research, find, and order gifts for the holiday season,” said Brian Tilzer, vice president of Ecommerce and business development at Staples. “For a retailer like Staples, mobile technology offers us new ways to make it much more convenient and easier for customers to shop and buy the products and services we offer. Given the rapid adoption of smart phones, we see great possibilities over time in putting even more power in the hands of our many customers using these devices.”

What do you think? Is mobile another nail in the coffin of the bricks-and-mortar retailers, or are SapientNitro being Jonahs?

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