NEW DELHI: Smartphone owners in India are using these devices for a diverse range of commercial purposes, a report has shown.

According to a survey by eBay, the online retail site, of 4,500 smartphone owners, Nokia and Samsung currently hold 40% of this market each, with Apple's iPhone on 17%.

Some 94% of respondents logged on to the web via this route, and 64% had access to 3G services. These phones offer faster data transfer speeds, but have suffered from slow take-up rates in India due to their high costs.

More broadly, 80% of the sample said they were "always on" the mobile internet, a perception that is indicative of rising engagement levels among the cohort.

Another 84% of contributors often browsed the mobile web at home, standing at 66% when at work, and 55% while "waiting for their friends".

Shopping malls, restaurants, theatres and airports were some of the additional primary sites for undertaking this pastime, with the daily commute also witnessing widespread usage.

A 70% share of interviewees visited online shopping websites in the same way, and an even greater 87% employed these gadgets to compare prices on the net.

Exactly 68% of the smartphone audience had already made an m-commerce purchase, with consumer electronics the most popular category, ahead of apparel and footwear, and then books.

Elsewhere, 65% of the survey community located bricks and mortar stores on their phone, 57% researched brands, 55% attempted to track down special offers and 48% checked product availability.

More specifically, 57% of those polled had used their mobile to look at prices on the internet before going to a mall or a store.

In all, 30% of participants agreed they "always" got a better deal on the web, and 49% "mostly" did so, the analysis added.

"Mobile commerce is starting to gain traction in India with the burgeoning smart phone penetration and a large number of Indians now use their smart phone to shop as well as compare prices," Muralikrishnan B, Country Manager, eBay India said.

Data sourced from mydigitalfc/eBay; additional content by Warc staff