Mobile to Play a Key Role During Black Friday for Parents Buying Gifts for Their Kids

90% of Smartphone-Owning Parents Who Plan to Shop Black Friday Weekend for Their Children Will Use Their Phones for Assistance, According to IAB Research

NEW YORK--()--An overwhelming majority of smartphone-owning parents* who plan to shop over Black Friday weekend intend to use their mobile devices (90%) for assistance while on the search for the perfect gift for their children. This is one of several key findings in a new research report entitled “Parents Go Mobile For Holiday Shopping” from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence.

Armed with a smartphone, intrepid parents hitting Main Street and the mall on what is notoriously the busiest shopping weekend of the year plan to use browsers and apps on their smartphone to help with various activities when it comes to getting gifts for their kids. The top picks revolve around leveraging mobile devices to find items in-store:

  • Checking availability of items before they go to the store (55%)
  • Tracking sales at stores / finding items that are on sale (50%)
  • Researching gift ideas (49%)

Additionally, a significant number of these parents (44%) expect that they will actually purchase presents for their children on their smartphones.

Furthermore, nearly two-thirds (61%) of smartphone-owning parents who are not expecting to or are unsure if they will be braving Black Friday weekend crowds also anticipate using their smartphones for holiday shopping assistance when it comes to buying for their little ones. The top reason these moms and dads cite for turning to their smartphones is to check for better prices on specific items while shopping in stores (35%).

“The usual juggling act of parenthood aside, buying holiday presents for the kids can often be one of the most difficult undertakings of the year,” said Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB. “It isn’t surprising that a great number of moms and dads expect to use their smartphones to assist them through the trials of Black Friday weekend and the rest of the holiday season. And their dependence upon mobile devices during this high-volume shopping timeframe opens up considerable opportunities for marketers.”

The research report also focuses on how parents permit their kids to interact with mobile content. Nearly one in three (30%) said that their children regularly use smartphones, whether the parent’s device or the child’s own. A whopping 88 percent of those parents stated that they download apps for their children or give them permission to do so.

In the search for the ideal mobile distraction, most of those moms and dads uncover new apps for the kids by browsing app stores for popular, free, or inexpensive ones (73%). However, 41 percent said that they look for children’s apps that are related to big name toys, movies, television shows, and TV networks, or those promoted on toy packages.

In turn, children’s appreciation of mobile apps and other mobile content can directly influence the purchases that parents make for them. A significant number of moms and dads who allow their children to use a smartphone said that they have bought a range of gift items for their kids that related to the story, brand, or characters seen in apps and mobile content:

  • Clothing (36%)
  • Toys (32%)
  • Books (26%)
  • DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, or downloads of movies or TV shows (26%)
  • Stickers, lunchboxes, coloring books, etc. (26%)
  • CDs, songs, or music (24%)

“Content viewed on mobile screens can inspire the kind of fan base that successfully extends into retail arenas,” said Joe Laszlo, Senior Director, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB. “These findings illustrate the extent to which parents’ smartphones will be serving as able assistants throughout the hectic holiday shopping season and also spotlight how these mobile devices have become central to keeping their children entertained and engaged year-round. Brand marketers that help parents on either of these fronts will earn a prominent place in their hearts and on their smartphone screens.”

*All references to parents in this study are to parents who have a child or children ages 12 or younger. Similarly, all references to children are to children ages 12 and younger.

To view the full report please visit


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Interactive Advertising Bureau from October 21–23, 2013 among 2,033 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. The sample size of parents with children ages 12 and younger was 323, and the sub-sample of such parents who own a smartphone was 276.

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit


IAB Media
Laura Goldberg, 347-683-1859


IAB Media
Laura Goldberg, 347-683-1859