Black Friday traffic jam. In the parking lot? No, on your phone.

Black Friday shoppers increasingly rely on smartphones to get the best deal, a new study says.

Illustration by Jake Turcotte/The Christian Science Monitor
This Black Friday and holiday shopping season, more than a quarter of the purchases will come from smartphone users, says a new study.

Shoppers using smartphones will account for more than a quarter of the $447 billion bonanza that U.S. retailers expect to reap this holiday season, a new survey reveals. Retailers with superior mobile and social media commerce strategies are likely to have an advantage in winning the business of these mobile shopping warriors and warrior wannabes, who are predicted to spend more than $127 billion, or 28 percent of overall sales, during the 2010 holiday season.

Increasing consumer comfort with mobile commerce (m-commerce) and social media commerce (sm-commerce) has given rise to a new merchandising category, the survey authors said: "MSM-commerce." This is giving consumers greater advantage as they engage retailers on their own terms, even inside the store.

“MSM-commerce introduces a new consumer shopping model which changes how consumers shop, not simply when and where they shop, as e-commerce,“ said Greg Girard, program director of retail merchandize strategies at IDC Retail Insights, which conducted the survey. “It is clear that MSM-commerce already has an influence on consumers’ perception of brand value and their shopping intentions. We believe the retailers with superior mobile and social media commerce strategies in place will have a decided advantage."

Retailer MSM-commerce competence greatly influences consumer perceptions about a brand, the study showed. Further, an easy-to-use mobile website significantly influences consumers across all age groups on where to shop. Results suggest that while the influence of social media outlets on buying decisions is growing, retailers continue to serve as the most important source of information that goes into a consumer’s final buying decision, which makes it critical that retailers have both consumer-generated website content and easy-to-use product information.

Girard told BusinessNewsDaily he would put Best Buy, Starbucks and Wet Seal at or near the top in terms of meeting the need of mobile warriors and warrior wannabes.

“Consumers’ increased comfort with using their smartphones to go online anywhere, combined with their plans to use them more in the 2010 holiday season, signals the beginning of a significant shift away from the capacity of the store channel to hold sway over consumers as they move to a purchase decision,” Girard said.

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