December 8, 2011, 5:02 PM

Consumers view mobile apps as tools for saving money

Many seek price comparison and coupon apps, says PriceGrabber.

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Consumers turn to mobile apps to help them save money, a recent survey finds.

Thriftiness apparently is on the minds of many smartphone owners this holiday season. A vast majority of consumers who have mobile shopping apps on their smartphones—84%—will seek to use the apps this holiday season to save money buying gifts, says, a comparison shopping site.

PriceGrabber says of the 2,323 U.S. online adults who own a smartphone surveyed in October, 39% have shopping-related mobile apps on their devices.

Perhaps more interesting is that 42% of smartphone owners plan to download new mobile shopping apps during the fourth quarter, with 70% of this group choosing comparison shopping apps. Another 65% will download coupon apps and 62% will seek price-checking apps that let them scan bar codes using the phone’s built-in camera, PriceGrabber says.  Upon doing so, the scanning app can display the product’s price, additional product information or production location in nearby stores, depending on the app’s capability. Consumers could select more than one response.

When asked why they would download these apps, 56% said they find the best prices using apps. Another 50% like the convenience of receiving discounts and price notifications on their smartphones. 44% said they only have time to shop on the go; 38% use apps while shopping in-store; and 28% take advantage of an app’s ability to offer localized features, such as finding a nearby store.

Shoppers intend to use these mobile commerce tools to “stay on top of last-minute incentives and price drops that are certainly on the horizon in the coming weeks via the Internet and mobile shopping applications,” says Graham Jones, PriceGrabber general manager. “With so many consumers owning smartphones with Internet access, allowing them to check prices, read merchant reviews and purchase right from their phone, retailers are being forced to offer the same prices in their online and brick-and-mortar stores.”

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