‘Tis the Season for Tablets and Smartphones

Watch where you’re wheeling that shopping cart this season.

According to a recent study from Google, over half of your fellow shoppers will be looking down at their mobile screens during their in-store shopping sprees this year. Sounds dangerous.

As we uncovered in our Cyber Monday Recap, mobile has already made a substantial mark on holiday shopping this year. This was to be expected – but one surprising trend is that mobile traffic was actually higher on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday, pointing to a consumer tendency to compare prices using mobile devices while shopping in store (data from Channel Advisor).

And it made a difference. According to IBM, mobile users made up 6.6% of all Cyber Monday purchases, up from just 2.3% last year.

More Shoppers Using Mobile for In-Store Shopping

Google’s study shows about half of tablet and smartphone users are likely to use their mobile phones to help make in-store shopping decisions.

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When Do Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices?

Further studies from Prosper Mobile Insights pinpoint where in the shopping process mobile users plan on turning to their tablets and smartphones. Most users will use their devices during the planning and research phase, but about 40% plan to use them in store. 3.1% of respondents said that they will use mobile devices to share their experience post-shopping.

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What It Means for Marketers

Mobile is becoming more relevant – and the trend seems to be accelerating. There’s a lot of data out there to support budgeting for mobile sites and apps in 2012. The big takeaway? Take some time this year to decide if mobile is right for you. Review analytics, current customers and customers you plan to acquire in 2012. Chances are mobile could play a big role in making it happen.