October 24, 2012, 1:04 PM

Smartphone owners gear up for an appy holiday shopping season

82% of consumers with shopping apps will use them to save on gifts, PriceGrabber finds.

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With store rewards and comparison shopping apps like shopkick and myShopanion  making big enhancements ahead of the holidays, and more than 110 million consumers in the U.S. now carrying smartphones, many signs point to mobile being a big part of consumers’ holiday shopping plans this year.

A new poll by shopping comparison site PriceGrabber provides further evidence. Its just-released second winter holiday survey shows 31% of consumers have shopping-related apps on their smartphone and 82% of those consumers plan to use those apps to save money when purchasing holidays gifts. Additionally, 32% of respondents with smartphones say they plan to download new shopping apps in preparation for the upcoming 2012 holiday season.

The poll of 2,469 online U.S. consumers, which was conducted last month, also finds that when it comes to shopping apps, consumers plan to download coupon apps the most (70%). Those are followed by comparison shopping apps (66%), bar code scanning apps that check prices online of items they scan in stores (63%) and apps specifically designed to find Black Friday sales (54%). Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a top holiday shopping day.

Additionally, 43% plan to download deal-of-the-day apps from sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial; 32% price calculator apps to determine discounts, tax and total cost of purchases; and 30% will nab gift list apps to manage their shopping lists.

"Instead of clipping coupons, shoppers are scouring the Internet and turning to their mobile devices to find the best deals,” says Rojeh Avanesian, vice president of marketing and analytics at PriceGrabber. “With mobile shopping growing at a rapid rate, it will be interesting to see how retailers will gain the shoppers' attention in the competitive mobile market space this holiday season."

And consumers plan to use apps for more than research and finding coupons, PriceGrabber says. Many plan to buy directly from retailer apps. 42% plan to purchase both big- and small-ticket items with a mobile shopping app. 41% plan to buy gifts that cost less than $100, 10% plan to purchase all of their holiday gifts using shopping apps, and 7% will purchase big-ticket items over $100.

Festive season gift givers may be using such retail apps to cut down on trips to stores, the survey suggests. 48% of those polled said they plan to make fewer trips to stores this year, 45% are planning about the same number of trips and only 7% plan to make more trips. 57% plan to make between one and five shopping trips for holiday gifts; 33% six to 10 trips; 8% 11 to 20; and 2% more than 21 trips.

While the PriceGrabber study supports the notion that shoppers will be whipping out their smartphones on a regular basis over the next two months, a new study from Chase Paymentech, a company that processes payments for online and store retailers, finds retailers expect a modest 6% of holiday sales to come from mobile commerce.

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