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New research from The Nielsen Co. shows that “smartphone owners are increasingly using their devices for shopping, from researching products and reviews, to comparing prices, finding retail locations, and redeeming coupons. And retailers are responding with mobile apps and websites designed to attract smartphone shoppers.”

Indeed, the company says that its metering of the smartphones of 5,000 U.S. volunteers participating in Nielsen’s mobile research “shows that during the 2011 holiday season, the top retail apps and websites combined - Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart - reached nearly 60 percent of smartphone owners.”

Additional findings from the study included the following:

• “Smartphone owners of both genders prefer retailers’ mobile websites over mobile apps, with men slightly more likely to try retailers’ mobile apps than women. However, consumers who use retailers’ mobile apps tend to spend more time on them.”

• “Target and Walmart skew female when it comes to their mobile websites, while Best Buy skews male. Amazon and eBay appeal to both genders.”

• “All of the top 5 mobile retail websites experienced a ‘bump’ during the days leading up to and following Black Friday, led by Amazon. This seasonal lift did not translate into an increase in regular usage, however. By January, active reach was back to October 2011 levels.”
KC's View:
These are the investments that modern retailers have to make ... sort of like making sure that their physical stores have power for the lights and freezers and running water in the bathrooms. It is all part of the infrastructure, because it will increasingly be part of the equation that shoppers judge you on, sharing that info with other shoppers.