Going mobile...instead of going to the mall!

Don't waste your money

(WXYZ) - This holiday season, shoppers are going mobile...using smart phones to tackle their gift list so they're not tethered to the computer or stuck battling the crowds.

The number of consumers who plan to purchase on the go is up a whopping 44% over last year!

There is also some important security steps to take before you start your mobile shopping spree.

For Emily Ojobaro, being a new mom means lots of multitasking.  And when she's up late doing feedings, she uses her free hand to do some shopping.

"It's just easy when I have my phone in my hand to click on an app or open the internet and next thing you know you made a purchase," Ojobaro said.  "I don't remember the last time I turned on a computer to buy something."

Convenience is driving consumers like Emily to tablets and smartphones, so they don't have to drive from store to store.  Emily likes retailers with their own apps.

"You log into the apps, you don't have to log in again, you don't have to have your credit card, it saves all your information," Ojobaro said.

Renato Scaff of Accenture Retail Practice says, "mobile sales are growing at probably 25% versus online total, growing at around mid-teens, and traditional brick and mortar growing in lower, single digits," Scaff said.

He expects mobile growth to accelerate even more, and says phones and tablets are essential tools for the entire shopping experience.

"There's no question that consumers are getting smarter through their mobile, whether it's looking at comparative pricing when they're in the store and making sure they're getting the best deal or they're reading ratings and reviews from other consumers to know 'is this a good products,' " Scaff said.

Emily likes that she can find discounts and easily comparison shop with her phone, but...

"Sometimes it can be annoying using your smart phone to shop if you can't zoom in and see the product, like if you can make your screen bigger, because you can't look at a one centimeter by one centimeter picture and make a decision," Ojobaro said.

Other concerns center on security, according to John Breyault of the National Consumers League.  His advice: be sure you use a pin to lock your phone, so that others can't access your info if you lose it.

"If you're protecting your wallet with a certain degree of security, make sure and protect your smart phone that way or even stronger," Breyault said.

He also urges caution when shopping from spots with pubic WiFi since it's possible your information can be intercepted, and he says be careful about the sites you're searching too.

"There are lots of malware sites out there that you go to that may look like they're offering a good deal on a product, but instead they only exist to load viruses and things like that onto your smart phone or they may be trying to collect sensitive personal information about you like a social security number, a date or birth or credit or banking information," Breyault said.

One security advantage phones may have over computers: apps.

"The apps are typically vetted by the app store that you get them from and they're likely to be safer from malware," Breyault said,

Emily doesn't worry about security so much.  A bigger fear for her is impulse purchases, since it's so simple to buy through her phone...

"What I try to do is add it to the cart and then I will wait until the next day before I complete the purchase," Ojobaro said.

Another perk or mobile?  The ability to find savings with coupons or discount codes, even when you're in the brick and mortar store!

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