The research team observed this effect even when phones were only used for part of the shopping trip.
“Our finding that phone use that is unrelated to shopping negatively affects shopping behaviour was in stark contrast to beliefs held by consumers,” said study author Michael Sciandra from Fairfield University, US.
For the study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, the researchers observed more than 230 participants in a simulated shopping task.
They found that consumers who are highly dependent upon mobile phones, characterised by excessive use of and reliance on the device, were the most at risk of deviating from a shopping plan while engaging in shopping-unrelated mobile phone use.
“Mobile phones are quickly becoming the principal distractor for many consumers and they offer a unique form of interruption. Our findings may influence consumers’ attitudes towards mobile phone use while shopping and persuade them to reflect on how these devices impact our lives, both positively and negatively,” Sciandra added.