GLOBAL: Shoppers are taking some of their online behavior into bricks-and-mortar stores by using their phones to compare prices, according to a new global study.

Market research firm GfK interviewed more than 25,000 mobile phone users aged 15 or older in 23 countries either online or face-to-face in the summer of 2014. The countries included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine and the US.

Overall, it found that the leading behaviours in-store were comparing prices and contacting a friend or family member for advice (at 40%), followed by taking pictures of products that they might buy (at 36%).

Globally, men were more likely than women (42% v 37%) to use their phones inside a store to compare prices on a regular basis. And the most active age group was shoppers aged 20-29, with nearly half (49%) saying they regularly do this, just ahead of 15-19 year olds and 30-39 year olds, both at 45%.

"Having a close and real-time eye on the pricing of online competitors and reacting quickly are now key success factors for physical retailers, as well as online ones," said Adrian Hobbs, managing director for online Pricing Intelligence at GfK.

Shoppers in South Korea (59%), China (54%) and Turkey (53%) were the most likely to compare prices in-store on their mobile phones. At the other end of the spectrum were shoppers in Ukraine (11%), South Africa (15%) and India (17%).

GfK noted that "sales staff and the physical shopping experience face a significant new external influence in-store", with word of mouth and advice from the shopper's own circle increasingly present at the very moment of making the purchase decision.

Globally, men (39%) and women (40%) were almost equally likely to use their mobile phones inside a store to contact a friend or family member for advice.

Young adults again led the way here, with 48% of 20-29 year olds doing so on regularly, closely followed by teenagers (47%) and then 30-39 year olds (50%).

Looking at individual countries, shoppers in Mexico (55%), Poland (53%) and Turkey (52%) were most likely to exhibit his behavior, while those in Japan (16%), Indonesia (21%) and Germany (24%) were least likely to.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff