October 25, 2012, 1:08 PM

Smartphone shoppers are not big spenders

Most mobile shoppers spend $20 to $100, a new survey says.

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While 60% of consumers in a September survey say they own a smartphone, just one in four survey respondents have used a mobile device to shop. Of those who have bought through mobile devices, 63% report spending between $20 and $100, the company reports.

Payment processor Litle & Co conducted the online survey of 500 U.S. consumers, 304 of them smartphone owners.

71% of respondents say they’ve never used a service such as Square, that lets retailers swipe payment cards through readers attached to mobile phones or other mobile devices. And only 8.6% of respondents who own smartphones say they think mobile wallets will have a big impact on how consumers pay, Litle reports. Moreover, two-thirds of all consumers in the survey report they believe cash is here to stay. Square and competing services like PayPal Here enable merchants to plug a small payment card reader into the headphone jack of a smartphone or other device to accept credit and debit cards.

“Mobile payments are a hot topic right now, but it’s still a market in its infancy,” says Ben Saren, vice president of marketing at Litle. “For retailers and brands this holiday season, it’s important to focus on where your customers really are and how they intend to pay—that can shed a great deal of insight into how to best market to them in the weeks running up to prime shopping season.”

 The survey also revealed:

  • One in four men plan to spend more than $1,000 on holiday gifts this year.
  • 53% of respondents plan to avoid credit cards and use available funds for holiday shopping this year, with 37% using debit cards and 16% paying with cash. 
  • One in three respondents prefers to use credit for purchases over $100.
  • 49% of respondents own three or more credit cards.
  • Nearly half of all credit cardholders in the survey—and 73% of cardholders with annual incomes of $150,000 or more—say earning rewards and miles is the main reason they use credit cards.

“Rewards are a huge driver for using credit cards, and the fact that shoppers will be driven to purchase by getting something extra in return should be factored into any retail strategy this holiday season,” Saren says.

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