NEW YORK: Smartphones will influence almost $160bn of in-store purchases in the US this year, a figure set to more than triple by 2016, Deloitte has argued.

According to the advisory firm, smartphones are due to impact 5.1% of all retail store sales in the US in 2012, equivalent to $159bn in revenues. Such a total can be compared with an anticipated $12bn in pure m-commerce returns.

The influence of these devices should also grow "exponentially" between now and 2016, shaping 17% to 21% of sales, or $628bn to $752bn, by 2016, when mobile commerce attains a value of $30bn.

Based on a survey of 1,071 nationally representative consumers and 1,557 smartphone users, Deloitte reported 48% of people own a smartphone.

Some 58% of this group use their mobile for "store-related" shopping, climbing to 68% for 25–34 year olds.

The analysis also stated uptake of this activity rose 40% after the first six months of device ownership, and people using phones in this way are 14% more likely to convert in store.

Similarly, 49% of smartphone users had engaged in this pastime when buying electronics and appliances, doing so on 60.9% of shopping trips. This gave mobile an "influence factor" of 8.3% over category purchases.

A further 46% of this audience used these gadgets in general merchandise outlets, department stores and warehouses, typically on 52.5% of visits, yielding an "influence factor" of 6.7%.

Elsewhere, 38% of smartphone users employed their handsets while making acquisitions in the clothing and footwear segment, with a 56.2% frequency. Wireless devices thus impacted 5.9% of sales in all.

Additionally, 35% of this audience turned to smartphones in the food and beverage category, generally on 58.2% of shopping occasions, results meaning they played a role in 5.7% of decisions.

Overall, 61% of people participating in this kind of activity accessed their handset in store, while 52% did so on the way to these outlets, 45% on the night before, 17% two days earlier, and 10% a week prior to attending a bricks and mortar vendor.

Alison Paul, Deloitte's retail and distribution sector leader, said: "Mobile is an important tool for retailers to incrementally drive traditional in-store sales, strengthening the relationship between retailer and consumer to increase engagement and loyalty."

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff