Smartphone users hot for social networking, e-commerce

Online tracker comScore reports that 32 million Americans use smartphones to access social nets

Like to check Facebook or Google+ pages while on the go? Or tweet about a great concert while the band is playing?

If so, you're not alone by a long shot.

According to a comScore report released Thursday, some 64.2 million Americans access social networks on a smartphone. More than half of those smartphone users access a social network nearly every day, the online tracking firm found.

While most of the U.S. smartphone users focus on reading social media posts by friends, the study found that about 30 million also read posts about marketing brands, companies and events.

"2011 proved to be a groundbreaking year for the mobile industry, with smartphones hitting the mainstream, tablets emerging as a formidable fourth screen, and consumers increasingly integrating mobile behaviors into their lifestyles," said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile, in a statement.

"As the industry continues to innovate and more consumers look to multiple devices and platforms to consume digital media, we expect the mobile and connected device landscape to be shaken up even further in 2012," he added.

The study suggests that both online and brick-and-morter retailers should take note that people are increasingly using smartphones while shopping.

According to comScore, more than half of U.S. smartphone users researched products while in a store. At the end of 2011, nearly one in five smartphone users had scanned product barcodes and nearly one in eight compared prices on while in a store.

The findings confirm messages relayed last fall by several speakers at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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