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Consumers Plan to Use Mobile Phones for Holiday Shopping




59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls. That’s a huge jump over 2009, when the number was only 25%.

The numbers come from the October 2010 U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing, which was conducted on behalf of the The Mobile Marketing Association and it’s even further proof that mobile marketing is on the rise.

Of those who expected to use their phone to faciliate shopping, 64% said they’re check their phone before going to a store, but only 12% said it would be in response to a  TV, billboard or newspaper ad. What are they using the phones for? To search for locations where a gift is sold and to compare prices were the two most common responses.

The survey’s other key findings include:

  • Asians, Hispanics and adults ages 25-34 are the demographic groups most likely to use their phone to a great extent for holiday shopping and celebration planning.
  • Thirteen percent of mobile holiday shoppers expect to use their phone to purchase or pay for gifts (13%).
  • Movies, music, consumer electronics and books are the top gift types that mobile holiday shoppers thought would be helpful to shop for using a mobile phone.
  • Among mobile holiday shoppers, Hispanics and Asians were more likely to think that toys or games would be helpful to shop for with a mobile phone.

Though I do believe that our dependence on mobile phones is rising (my husband forgot his when we went out shopping today and he wanted to go back home to get it), I’d take these results with a healthy dose of skepticism. Not that I think they’re wrong, but I don’t believe that people really know what they’ll use their phones for let alone what kind of gift would be better served. I suspect people responded with the most popular categories for gift buying, the same answer you’d get if you asked them what they buy online or at the mall.

Here’s a quote from the press release that does sum it all up nicely. It’s from Jacqueline Rosales, EVP, Business Development & Client Service of Luth Research;

“Holiday shoppers are always in a time crunch, and in this economy, they’re in a budget crunch, too. Both of these factors have them relying on their mobile phone more than ever as a tool for finding bargains, the right gift and the quickest way to get to a particular merchant. This dependence makes the mobile channel a highly effective way for brands, marketers and merchants to reach consumers this holiday shopping season, including by mobile-enabling campaigns that involve traditional media.”

All true. So spiff up those websites, mobile apps and mobile coupons and then start planning an even bigger mobile push for next year. With the growth in Smartphone usage, this year’s 59% will probably jump to 75% when Christmas 2011 rolls around.