LONDON: The use of mobile phones to plan shopping trips and organise family celebrations has increased in Europe in the past year, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has said.

The research shows around 67% of all British, German and French mobile owners will use the devices heavily in the run-up to Christmas.

More than a quarter (26%) say their mobiles will play a more significant role than they did last year in preparing for the holiday season.

One-quarter of the Christmas shoppers surveyed intend to use their mobile phones to search for gift ideas (Germany 32%, UK 24%, France 19%), while 12% say they will use their phone either to purchase or pay for gifts (UK 16%, Germany 14%, France 5%).

But a clear connection between mobile shopping experience and traditional shopping habits was observed by the MMA.

Just over half (52%) of respondents said they would use their phones in advance of shopping trips and over a third (39%) planned to use their mobiles while travelling to stores.

Many Christmas shoppers will even use their device whilst in a checkout line (Germany 14%, UK 11%, France 3%).

Meanwhile, around 15% of those using their mobile phone as a key element of Christmas shopping expect to search for the location or directions to a retail outlet via their device.

This suggests that retailers need to do far more to integrate mobile shopping into in-store retailing as a whole.

Peter A Johnson, vice-president of market intelligence at the MMA, added: "The findings from the latest research demonstrate the growing opportunity for European retailers to readdress the mobile channel to target end users.

"Consumers are now using their mobiles for a number of shopping-related activities which marketers need to be aware of when optimising both their mobile and in-store retail experiences."

Data sourced from MMA; additional content by Warc staff