samsung galaxy s4Now considered an indispensable tool, smartphones are reshaping and redefining the shopping experience, according to new market research from IDC. Sixty-nine percent of those IDC surveyed agreed with the statement “My smartphone is a critical tool that allows me to have a better shopping experience.” Just 12% disagreed.

It’s clear from the survey results that shoppers see added value in using their smartphones to shop. Seventy percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, “I plan to use my smartphone more to help my shopping experience in the coming year,” as compared to just 11% who disagreed.

Besides using their smartphones for comparison shopping, smartphone shoppers also become better informed and gain confidence in their purchase decisions, using their smartphones to tap into trusted social networks while shopping.

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“Seven in 10 respondents said they check prices using their smartphones, and five in 10 said they check reviews from their smartphones,” IDC highlights in a press release.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are finding themselves at a disadvantage in a shopping environment increasingly characterized by smartphone shoppers, according to IDC. “One in five survey respondents bought from a competitor while they were shopping in a retail store this holiday season. One in three respondents indicated they purchased much more online versus in a retail store this year compared to last year,” IDC’s market researchers note.

IDC also analyzed mobile app and mobile Web activity for more than 10,000 smartphone users during this past holiday shopping season and found that Amazon dominated among retailers. Far more consumers accessed Amazon’s mobile app, mobile website or both than any other retailer, IDC found.

Moreover, brick-and-mortar retailers lag behind Amazon significantly when it comes to analyzing smartphone users’ propensity to use a brand’s app and/or visit the mobile website, IDC said. “Given Amazon’s breadth of products, its reputation for low prices, robust product reviews, and personalized recommendations, it makes sense that Amazon is the leader among smartphone users,” IDC Mobility, Digital Media and Consumer Group vice president and general manager Danielle Levitas commented.

“The smartphone is at the center of our lives, with most of us unable to be without it for even a couple of hours. By combining the insights from both the survey and mobile behavioral data, it is clear that, for a significant number of us, the smartphone is now also a critical shopping tool, our own personal concierge to help us shop intelligently,” added Buyer Behavior Practice vice president and consulting partner Allan Fromen.

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