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Nearly a quarter (24%) of UK consumers used a mobile device for Christmas shopping, according to stats included in our new Christmas 2012 Online Shopping Survey.

The report, which was produced using Toluna QuickSurveys, polled 1,000 UK and 1,000 US online consumers on their shopping habits. 

It revealed that 11% of UK respondents used a smartphone and 13% used a tablet, compared to 77% who shopped using a desktop.

US shoppers exhibited largely similar shopping behaviours, though overall were 4% more likely to use a smartphone or tablet for their Christmas shopping.

The importance of mobile shopping over the Christmas period was also highlighted in data from IBM. It found that online sales on Boxing Day 2012 increased by 44.95% compared to 2011.

There was also a large increase in mobile traffic with the number of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site reaching 30.72%, up from 19.8% on Boxing Day in 2011.

This tallies with data from Kenshoo which found that smartphones and tablets accounted for more than a quarter (28%) of the clicks on retail paid search ads in the run up to Christmas.

Our survey also asked consumers whether they had used a mobile while shopping in-store to check reviews and prices. The behaviour is known as ‘showrooming’ and is becoming more common as smartphone usage increases.

One in five (21%) UK respondents admitted to showrooming compared to 26% in the US. This is backed up by recent Foolproof research which found that 24% of consumers had used their mobile to check prices and reviews in-store.

In an effort to combat the potentially damaging impact of showrooming several US retailers took step to embrace consumer use of mobile in-store.

Best Buy ran a price match guarantee during the holiday shopping season, promising to meet the prices of major online retailers in-store.

Similarly, Target used a QR code display that allowed shoppers to buy the top 20 toys online using their smartphone, thereby avoiding the long queues. Purchases were then shipped free-of-charge.

The use of mobile technology in-store is one of the central themes discussed in our report How The Internet Can Save The High Street, which also looks at topics including in-store Wi-Fi, reserve and collect, pop-up shops and QR codes.

David Moth

Published 17 January, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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