NEW YORK: Busy parents shopping for their children over Black Friday weekend will depend heavily on their smartphones, a new report has said.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence surveyed 2,033 adults for its study, Parents Go Mobile For Holiday Shopping, and found that 90% of parents who owned a smartphone would use the device for help when gift shopping.

Most of the activities undertaken by phone revolved around research, including checking availability of items before going to a store (55%), tracking sales at stores or finding items that were on sale (50%) and researching gift ideas (49%).

In addition, however, a significant number of these parents (44%) expected to complete purchases on their smartphones.

Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB, noted that parents faced a difficult time juggling their everyday parental responsibilities with buying holiday presents and it was little surprise that they would be leaning on their smartphones at this time.

"And their dependence upon mobile devices during this high-volume shopping timeframe opens up considerable opportunities for marketers," she added.

The IAB's research also looked at how parents permitted their children to interact with mobile content. Nearly one in three (30%) said that their children regularly used smartphones, whether the parent's device or the child's own. And 88% of those parents said they either downloaded apps for their children or give them permission to do so.

While most parents (73%) looked for free, or inexpensive apps, fully 41% were searching for children's apps related to popular toys, movies, television shows, and TV networks, or those promoted on toy packages.

The flip side of this was that children's appreciation of mobile apps and other mobile content frequently influenced the purchases made by parents. Around a third had bought clothing (35%) or toys (32%) related to the story, brand or characters seen in apps and mobile content.

Other popular purchases included books (26%), DVDs or downloads (26%), lunchboxes and colouring books (26%) and CDs/music (24%).

Joe Laszlo, Senior Director, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB, remarked on how mobile devices had become central to parents keeping their children entertained and engaged.

"Brand marketers that help parents on either of these fronts will earn a prominent place in their hearts and on their smartphone screens," he said.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff