Don't you just feel smart standing in Macy's, using a mobile phone application to check the best price of those coveted jeans before you buy? Or clicking "buy" on that Groupon app and then clicking Facebook on the spot to get your friends to meet you for that 50 percent off lunch the next day?
"Using shopping apps on a smartphone is so attractive," says Vincent Schiavone, executive chairman of ListenLogic.com, a company that studies the business of social media for brands. "It gives you a little feeling of power in the palm of your hand. Wherever, whenever, you can find deals, check reviews and prices, gain product information, earn rewards, invite friends and pay with just the tap of an app."
IPhone shopping app impressions grew by 249 percent in 2010, according to a Mobclix study. Another survey by Prosper Mobile Insights in May 2011 found that half of smartphone users say they have made a purchase using their smartphones. So what's the problem?
"Unchecked use of mobile shopping apps can also have you spending more each time you tap," says Gary Belsky, co-author of "Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons from the Life-Changing Science of Behavioral Economics."
"The biggest trap with any digital buying mechanism is impulse buying," he says. "Simply enforce the 'do-it-tomorrow rule.' Slow yourself down, let the impulse pass. If you still want to buy it tomorrow, then buy it."