Survey: Smartphones altering holiday-shop habits

People plan to use their mobile devices to their advantage while gift-shopping by comparing prices, checking availability, and finding reviews, according to IDC.

Mobile devices will have a big impact on buying behavior this holiday-shopping season, according to a new study from market researcher IDC.

An IDC survey of more than 1,000 American consumers in September shows that mobile devices are expected to give consumers "greater advantage as they engage retailers."

Over one-third of respondents said that they plan to use their smartphones to improve their shopping experience during the holidays. They plan to "search for price and product information" in stores, as well as search for "merchandise availability." About 45 percent of respondents said that plan to compare pricing of certain products in other stores in the area, while 32 percent said they will browse reviews from their mobile devices.

IDC predicts that people who use their mobile phones to help in their shopping experience will account for $127 billion of the expected $447 billion to be generated this holiday-shopping season. However, it is worth noting that the revenue figure does not mean that those people will be spending all of that cash through smartphones. According to IDC, they will simply use smartphones while making their buying decision.

The impact of such behaviors could be drastic for brick-and-mortar retailers. As IDC pointed, "these new behaviors will exert pressures that weaken the store's immediate influence on purchase decisions 'at the shelf.'" And only those retailers that have "superior mobile and social media commerce strategies in place will have a decided advantage."

IDC's study followed another survey performed by Yahoo that claims two-thirds of all mobile phone users will be using those devices this year while they shop. Yahoo also found that the average consumer will spend about $900 during this year's holiday-shopping season.

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