By Patrick Avenell

Consumer electronics is the most browsed product on smartphones, though only a small number of Australians have actually used their handsets to compare prices and features before purchase.

Although being the most commonly searched type of product, only 14 per cent of smartphone users have employed the browser on their handset to look up information about these products. The next most popular is computer hardware (11 per cent), followed by accommodation, clothing, books and airlines. Whitegoods has doubled in popularity, from 3 per cent to 6 per cent, compared to last year.

This information is from a survey commissioned by Telstra and conducted by Nielsen.

Overall, the survey concludes that internet use on smartphones is rampant, with 90 per cent of smartphone owners accessing the internet from their phone. The most popular uses are search engines, email, social networking and weather. Thirty-seven per cent of respondents said they had used their smartphone to complete a purchase, while around 25 per cent have used their phone to compare pricing while in a store.

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Some other interesting results from this survey include:

-Despite all the publicity, interest in group buying is very low on smartphones, with only 23 per cent responding that they had ever accessed group buying on their phone. This is well behind fast food restaurants (32 per cent), auctions (45 per cent) and music videos (57 per cent).

-Perhaps a function of mobile internet coverage in country areas, smartphone use is much more prevalent in metro areas, with 52 per cent of city dwellers using smartphones compared to only 34 per cent in non-metro areas.

-The most common location for smartphone internet use is the home, followed by public transport and when travelling as a passenger in a car. A third of smartphone users have accessed the internet while using the bathroom, while 11 per cent have logged on while on a date or during a movie in the cinema.

-Overall, males are more likely to use their smartphone to access news and sports information while females are more likely to access social networking sites.