LONDON: Consumers in the UK are discovering new products and researching purchases via an increasingly diverse of digital channels, a study has shown.

Deloitte, the consultancy, polled 2,276 shoppers, and found that a majority now owned smartphones such as Apple's iPhone or rivals powered by Google's Android operating system.

It also discovered that 32% of respondents would like to access details about goods available in brick-and-mortar stores by scanning barcodes with their handsets.

"Some retailers have introduced this functionality but it may soon be a must-have for all, due to customer demand for this facility," said Mark Lee-Amies, a media partner at Deloitte.

Another 24% of interviewees said they wanted to redeem coupons directly from their phone, while 18% had already used these gadgets to read product reviews, and 17% compared different items in this way.

The analysis also revealed that 17% of the sample had made a purchase from their mobile over the course of the last year.

Lee-Amies said: "More than 50% of UK consumers now own smartphones and they are being used to discover new products, research them, obtain discounts, and finally pay for them."

Elsewhere, 31% of shoppers had recommended a product through a blog or social network, an increase of 30% year on year. This a rate of growth reached 70% among people aged 55 years old and above.

Moreover, 62% of interviewees had discovered a new product thanks to a recommendation from other web users, while 68% had been put off buying a certain brand due to negative feedback on the web.

Overall, 73% of the panel agreed that favourable comments on the internet were the most influential type of web content when it came to shaping their purchase decisions.

"The popularity of online reviews may be causing a change in UK consumers' willingness to give advice online," said Lee-Amies.

In a parallel shift, 24% of participants had used an online coupon when eating out, while 14% got money off apparel and groceries using similar vouchers, Deloitte added.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff