New research reveals consumers are using their smartphones to replace the services of shop assistants, with 42 percent using mobiles to compare prices while they are in-store, and more than half going on to purchase goods from their mobiles.

New research, into the mobile buying habits of more than 2,000 smartphone users in the UK, France, Germany and Sweden, shows that mobile access to product information, store location, location-based offers, voucher codes, comparison sites, barcode scanners, product reviews and purchase tracking is making the traditional in-store approach to purchasing increasingly out-dated.

The study commissioned by Tradedoubler and carried out by Forrester found that 42 per cent of users were comparing prices while they were in-store and 13 per cent switched stores after spotting a more attractive offer elsewhere.

The survey also found that overall over 71 percent of smartphone users across all four countries are researching potential purchases via mobile, and one in four mobile research sessions end with a purchase being completed on the phone itself. Additionally more than half (53 percent) of those surveyed admitted to buying goods and services other than downloads on their device.

Tablet users spend more

The survey also looked tablet users as well as smartphone users and found tablet users were even more inclined to shop on their device than smartphone users. Two out of five users researched a potential purchase and 33 percent went on to complete a transaction. Tablet users are also among the highest mobile spenders, with the average highest amount spent quoted at £185 compared to £113 on mobile.

Non-mobile friendly sites put customers off

The research reveals that the lack of mobile-optimised sites – ones that are clear, tailored, quick and easy to navigate - is a headache for more than a third of European consumers. A quarter (26 percent) of respondents said they would buy via mobile more frequently if websites were optimised.

"This research represents a wake-up call for all businesses that still believe an m-commerce strategy is a 'nice to have' rather than business critical," said Urban Gillström, CEO, Tradedoubler. "Consumers increasingly expect a seamless, multi-touch, multi-channel experience across mobile, online and in-store platforms. The future belongs to the advertisers that can deliver that, but it can be difficult for them to know where to start. We have undertaken this research as part of our commitment, not just to creating a world-leading mobile affiliate marketing and analysis platform for our customers, but to helping organisations across the industry better understand what they can do to take their first steps in m-commerce."