More than half of all smartphone owners will use their devices to research and purchase gift items this holiday season, a new survey shows.
The poll, conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGresearch, also found that CE is the third most wished for holiday gift by all consumers, behind only gift cards and apparel.
Among smartphone owners, nearly one-third (31 percent) will research products and/or compare prices, 14.1 percent will purchase products, 17.3 percent will redeem coupons, and 15.6 percent will use apps to research or purchase items this holiday season.
One-quarter (25.1 percent) of smartphone owners said they will also use their handsets to look up information about brick-and-mortar stores such as hours and location.
Tablet owners are even more likely to use their device to aid in their holiday shopping, the survey showed, with seven in 10 planning to research and shop using their devices. Half (50.8 percent) will research products and/or compare prices, and more than one-third (34.8 percent) will make a purchase with their tablet. Tablet owners will also redeem coupons (21.5 percent), look up storefront information (33.8 percent), and use apps to research items or purchase products (21 percent).
When it comes to mobile shopping, young adults present the biggest opportunity for retailers, NRF advised. According to the survey, 72.2 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 are likely to use their smartphones, and 86.4 percent will use their tablets to shop for holiday items this year.
Men are also considerably more likely than women to use mobile devices to shop for gifts. Two in 10 men (17.6 percent) and 10.8 percent of women who own smartphones plan to purchase products, while among tablet owners, 38.5 percent of men (or four in 10), and 31.3 percent of women will make purchases this holiday season.
Meanwhile, the percentage of shoppers who plan to seek out holiday deals on the Internet has grown to 46.7 percent, from 43.9 percent last year. Additionally, the average holiday shopper plans to do 36 percent of his shopping online, including product research, price comparisons and actual purchases.
Online shoppers plan to spend more as well — the average person who will shop online this holiday season will spend about 22 percent more than those consumers who only plan to shop in physical stores. Adults aged 25 to 34, many of whom have small children and crave convenience, will complete 43.7 percent of their holiday shopping online, the most of any age group, the poll shows.
Among other findings of the holiday survey:
• A record 57.7 percent of consumers said they would like to receive gift cards this holiday, topping apparel (50 percent), CE (35.4 percent) and jewelry (22.8 percent).
• Shoppers plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98.
• NRF is still forecasting overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8 percent during the months of November and December, to $465.6 billion.
The survey also showed that nearly six in 10 holiday shoppers (59.9 percent) plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families during the holiday season. The average person will spend approximately $130.43 during the holiday season to take advantage of sales and discounts on apparel, CE, home goods and other items for themselves or a family member, up from $112.20 last year.
Finally, when asked which one factor will be most important when shopping this holiday season, sales or price discounts largely win out (41.6 percent), but customer service (6 percent vs. 5.3 percent in 2010) and quality of merchandise (14.6 percent vs. 12.7 percent in 2010) are continuing to become more vital components in consumers’ decision making processes.
“Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty or stellar customer service.” said NRF president/ CEO Matthew Shay.
The NRF “2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey” was conducted Oct. 4-11. BIGresearch polled 8,585 consumers for the survey.