News | December 20, 2010

Holiday Shoppers Empowered By the Mobile Internet According To New Poll

Approximately Half of U.S. Consumers with Smart Phones Used Them to Locate Stores, Find Products and Compare Prices

The Line Between Online and In-Store Shopping is Blurring

Findings from a new GfK Roper Poll, conducted on behalf of SapientNitro, part of Sapient (NASDAQ: SAPE), demonstrate that American consumers are increasingly empowered by their mobile devices when it comes to researching products and finding the best prices while holiday shopping.

The national survey found that of the three in ten Americans who own a "smart phone" — e.g., an iPhone, Blackberry, Android-based phone, or other type of Internet and application-enabled mobile phone — many are using it to their advantage while shopping for the holidays.

As shoppers are increasingly empowered by their mobile Internet devices this holiday season, this trend has implications for brick-and-mortar retailers. For example, of consumers with a smart phone:

  • Three in ten (30%) say that, while at a store looking at a product, they tried to find a better deal elsewhere on their phone
  • One in three (33%) say that while out shopping, they e-mailed or texted someone to tell them about an experience at a store — such as finding a great deal or a great gift
  • One in five (19%) used their phone to post something on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or other social networking sites about their holiday shopping experience

In addition, half or nearly half used their smart phones to find a store location (52%), research specific products they were thinking of purchasing (48%), browse for products (44%), and/or compare prices (40%). About one in three looked for discounts, deals, coupons, or discount codes (35%) on their mobile phones, or checked product availability at retail stores or websites (34%).

"Portability is a game-changer in transforming the way that people shop," said Chris Davey, worldwide head of commerce at SapientNitro. "Technology is causing some of the biggest shifts in human behavior that we've seen in years, and consumers are more informed and empowered than ever. This has a major impact not only on the way that consumers shop but also on the way that retailers need to market to consumers this holiday season."

"Mobile assets play an important role in making it easier for customers to find and order gifts for the holiday season," said Brian Tilzer, vice president of Ecommerce and business development at Staples. "Mobile technology offers us new ways to make it even easier for customers to research, shop and buy the products and services we offer. Given the rapid adoption of smart phones, we see great possibilities over time in putting even more power in the hands of our many customers using these devices."

The survey also found that the Internet, in general, is forging a new inter-connectedness between traditional and online stores. Of those Americans who have already started their holiday shopping:

  • About half (53%) say they purchased a product in a physical retail store after researching the product online
  • Nearly half (44%) purchased a product online after shopping for a similar item in a physical store

Consumers are finding a number of online tools helpful when choosing products to purchase this holiday season, the SapientNitro survey finds. Of those who have made an online purchase this holiday season:

  • Seven in ten (69%) say online customer ratings or reviews (such as on Amazon or Yelp) very or somewhat valuable
  • About half find e-mail promotions (50%) or online videos of product features/reviews (53%) valuable

How the survey was conducted The survey was conducted December 3-5, 2010 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications. This telephone poll was based on a nationally representative probability (random digit dial) sample of 1,004 general population adults age 18 or older. The data was weighted to account for probabilities of selection, as well as age, sex, education and race, using targets from the March 2009 supplement of the Current Population Survey.

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples.

About GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, a division of GfK Custom Research North America (, is one of the most trusted names in public opinion and marketing research. The Roper legacy dates back to 1933 and today is known for its work in public relations, brand building, consumer advocacy, social policy and corporate communications, serving clients across sectors and around the world. Whether it's a Fortune 500 corporation or a non-profit organization, a major media company or an online start-up, a university, think-tank or public relations firm, a local government or private philanthropy, GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications delivers intelligence vital to their strategic objectives. GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group.

About SapientNitro SapientNitroSM, part of Sapient®, is one of the world's largest integrated marketing and technology services firms. We create and engineer highly relevant experiences that accelerate business growth and fuel brand advocacy for our clients. By combining multi-channel marketing, multi-channel commerce, and the technology that binds them, we influence customer behavior across the spectrum of content, communication and commerce channels, resulting in deeper, more meaningful relationships between customers and brands. SapientNitro services global leaders such as Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Mars, Singapore Airlines, Target, and Vodafone through our operations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @sapientnitro.

SOURCE: SapientNitro