More than half (52%) of adult cell phone owners used their cell phones while they were in a store during the 2011 holiday season to seek help with purchasing decisions.

During a 30 day period before and after Christmas 2011, 38% of cell owners called a friend for advice about a purchase they were considering; 24% looked up online reviews of a product; and, 25% checked prices to see if they could do better elsewhere.

Online price matching and looking up online reviews frequently went hand in hand. Overall, of the 33% of cell owners who used their phone last holiday season in a store to look up either product reviews or prices online, roughly half (representing 17% of all cell owners) used their phones to engage in both of these activities.

Cell owners ages 18-49 were significantly more likely to use their phones for online product reviews than were cell owners ages 50 and older. Cell owners ages 65 and older were especially unlikely to do this. Urban and suburban cell owners were roughly twice as likely as rural cell owners to have recently used their phone to look up online reviews of a product they found in a physical store. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.