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Two women use their mobile phones outside the Toronto Eaton Centre on July 3, 2014. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Two women use their mobile phones outside the Toronto Eaton Centre on July 3, 2014. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)


In store and online: Shoppers' mobile use in retail spaces on the rise Add to ...

Shopping has gone digital, even when people are hoofing it to brick-and-mortar stores.

A new report is showing that mobile use is now the norm for a majority of Canadians while shopping in store.

The holiday shopping survey is a part of a larger annual Mobile Personas report, conducted by the firms Tapped Mobile, App Promo and BrandSpark. The Holiday 2014 study polled nearly 1,000 Canadians, and found that more than 70 per cent of them spend time on their smartphones while shopping. For younger people, it was close to 80 per cent looking at their phones while in stores.

And it’s increasing. A majority – 58 per cent – have stepped up that activity in the past year. But only 10 per cent are using their phones to pay for things. Most people are using them to research products and look for better deals. That means pressure is increasing on retailers to offer more value to customers, and to do a better job marketing to them in the mobile space. Here are some of the numbers:

The three most popular reasons people use their phones in store:

1) Comparing prices with different retailers
2) Searching for coupons
3) Reading product reviews

The top five most common ways Canadians expect to use their phones while holiday shopping this year:

61 per cent: Comparing prices with different retailers to decide where to buy an item
60 per cent: Taking pictures of products they are considering buying
55 per cent: Researching product features
51 per cent: Comparing prices with different retailers to take advantage of price-matching guarantees
46 per cent: Reading product reviews written by other consumers

Red Bull has had its wings clipped

The energy drink manufacturer has settled two class action lawsuits over false advertising that were filed in New York last year.

The plaintiffs objected to Red Bull’s claims of improved concentration and physical energy, which the company says are better than the effects of drinking coffee. The lawsuits claimed there was no scientific evidence to support those claims.

Red Bull continues to deny that it engaged in false advertising. It reached a $13-million (U.S.) settlement. As part of the deal, customers in the U.S. who bought Red Bull between Jan. 1, 2002, and Oct. 3 of this year can send in a request for compensation, in the form of cash or – get this – more Red Bull products. The final settlement will be decided next May, and the amounts of compensation to individuals will be decided then. Chances are, however, that the amounts will be very small, considering that the number of people wanting to file claims was so high on Wednesday that the settlement website crashed.

Red Bull does not literally give you wings and, as it turns out, it probably won’t give you much cash either.

CRTC takes a bite out of spam

The federal regulator in charge of implementing Canada’s anti-spam rules has concluded its first investigation since the new law came into force on July 1.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced on Tuesday that a small business in Saskatchewan was the target of an investigation after millions of spam messages were sent out from its computer server.

Complaints about the messages arose in July. The business, a computer reseller, was not sending the messages intentionally, the CRTC found. Rather, its server had become infected with malware – malicious software that can take over a computer and use it for its own purposes, without the owner’s knowledge.

The CRTC worked with the business and with its Internet service provider, Access Communications, to thwart that activity. The CRTC did not issue a fine.

Since July, the Spam Reporting Centre, which the CRTC oversees, has received more than 120,000 complaints. According to spokeswoman Patricia Valladao, the CRTC is in the midst of a number of investigations.

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