December 8, 2010, 2:28 PM

2 million holiday shoppers get a bar code scanning app in hopes of shopping smarter

Comparison shopping bar code scanning app is downloaded 2.15 million times in November.

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Add another big mobile bar code scanning statistic to the ranks this holiday shopping week. Comparison shopping bar code scanning app ShopSavvy reports its app was downloaded 2.15 million times in November as more holiday shoppers try out the app in hope of nabbing the best deals during their gift hunting.

Consumers downloaded the free app 1.4 million times to their iPhones and 750,000 times on smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system. It was the biggest month for downloads since the app launched in November 2008, ShopSavvy says.

ShopSavvy attributes the jump in part to new social shopping features it added to its iPhone app in November. Of the 1.4 million downloads by iPhone users, 400,000 were first-time downloads and 1 million were current ShopSavvy users updating to the app’s latest version.

The new version of the app, ShopSavvy 4, offers a price-matching function that tells a consumer if a retailer will match a competitor’s price based on ShopSavvy results, as well as up-to-date inventory information. A blue dot by a retailer’s name on the price results pages tells shoppers if an item is in stock. Other features include a Twitter-like stream of short-term promotions aggregated from sources across the web, exclusive deals for ShopSavvy users, and the ability for users to add and share product photos and prices when they come across a product, price or retailer that’s not already in ShopSavvy’s price comparison engine.

ShopSavvy 4 also incorporates more robust product ratings and reviews, the company says. In previous versions of ShopSavvy, users could scan books, DVDs, consumer electronics and other products to call up third-party online reviews. In ShopSavvy 4, users can add their own ratings and reviews and share them with other app users.

Beyond the enhancements, ShopSavvy believes growing consumer awareness of bar code scanning as a comparison shopping tool played a key role in the download increase. Press coverage also helped. ShopSavvy was featured in 543 television newscasts during Thanksgiving week alone, according to monitoring service VMS.

ShopSavvy enables consumers to scan product bar codes compare prices from local and online retailers. It works with the iPhone, smartphones with Android operating systems and Nokia smartphones. ShopSavvy says it has more than 6.5 million users worldwide, and offers pricing and inventory information from more than 20,000 retailers about more than 20 million products.

ShopSavvy isn’t the only bar code scanning app boasting big numbers over the holidays. Consumers generated 30 times more mobile bar code scans during Thanksgiving week using a free app called ScanLife. Other comparison shopping bar code scanning apps include RedLaser, which was acquired by eBay this summer, and myShopanion—both of which are free to consumers. Most bar code scanning apps generate revenue by collecting affiliate or click-through fees from retailers.

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