5 Smartphone Apps for December Shopping

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Smartphones are playing an increasingly important role in influencing holiday shoppers.

Over the Black Friday shopping weekend, the number of apps downloaded on Apple's ( AAPL) iOS and Google's ( GOOG) Android-running smartphones was up 25% over the prior weekend's data, according to analytics firm Flurry. The factoid jibes with recent survey findings from Deloitte, which said that one in five shoppers -- about 17% -- plan to use their mobile device for holiday shopping this year. Of this figure, more than 50% will use their phone to compare prices or find store locations, 46% will look for product information and 40% will use their phones to shop or read reviews.

These so-called mobile shoppers will account for 28%, or $127 billion, of the total money that U.S. consumers are expected to spend this holiday season, said IDC.

Here are five apps designed to make their shopping trips a little bit easier.


Platform: iPhone

Signpost's recently-released iPhone app uses mapping technology to help shoppers find nearby bargains, like 20% off cosmetics at Kiehls or a discount on shoes at Steve Madden ( SHOO). The app also allows shoppers to input deals they want to share in categories including shopping, health and beauty, entertainment and travel.

So far, Signpost is only available in Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, although the company is expanding its service. Signpost, based in New York City, is backed by investors at Google Ventures and Spark Capital.


Platforms: iPhone, Android

Shoppers who have gotten stuck walking in circles at labyrinthine malls will appreciate FastMall, an app designed to prevent just that. FastMall offers turn-by-turn directions to navigate stores -- it even gives an elevator-only route option for shoppers with strollers or wheelchairs. The app holds directories of most large malls in more than 22 countries. In addition, shoppers can write reviews and include photos or videos for stores, restaurants and movie theaters within the mall.

FastMall's GPS chops also helps shoppers locate their cars in crowded lots and find the nearest restroom just by shaking the phone. The app is available in Spanish, as well.


Platform: iPhone

CheckPoints allows users to win prizes by gathering points where they shop. When shoppers walk into a store, they click the app and it displays products that will win them points. Points are then collected when shoppers scan the products' barcodes via their phone's camera.

Points can be redeemed for gift certificates at stores like Amazon ( AMZN) and GameStop ( GME), electronics from Apple, Nintendo and Toshiba -- even for charitable donations.

CheckPoints has teamed up with partners like Belkin, Energizer ( ENR), Frito Lay, Kmart and Seventh Generation.

CheckPoints will be available on Android soon, according to the company.


Platforms: iPhone, Android

ShopSavvy allows shoppers to comparison shop in their neighborhood and across the web -- users type in product names or scan the product's bar code with their mobile camera. The app then displays where to find the product at it cheapest price. For local products, ShopSavvy displays map directions and contact information; for online products, the app pulls up the vendor's website.

Users can also compile a wish list, search user reviews or set up an alert to be reminded when the item drops below a certain price. There's also a "deals" section that informs shoppers about shipping promotions, coupon codes, rebates and weekend sales.

Coupon Sherpa

Platform: iPhone

Coupon Sherpa culls hundreds of in-store coupons from more than 5,000 retailers like Walmart ( WMT) and J.C. Penney ( JCP) and makes them available on iPhones. Shoppers load coupons onto their browser, then show their phone to the cashier who scans the coupon or keys in the barcode number. The app also features coupons that are exclusive to Coupon Sherpa users.

Shoppers can search for coupons by category or store name, and e-mail deals to friends.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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