Smartphones are living up to their name — at least when it comes to educating customers in their shopping decisions.

New research by eMarketer found that 72 percent of consumers say they have used their smartphone to research prices prior to making a purchase. Twenty-two percent of those shoppers say they frequently use a smartphone to search for the best deals.  

Research found that mobile-based sales are projected to rise during the rest of this year. Estimates project that 15 percent of all online retail sales will be made on a mobile device in 2013, up from 11 percent in 2012.

Additionally, a poll by AYTM Market Research found that 55 percent of consumers say they have used their smartphone to make a purchase. Nine percent of those consumers say they are frequent mobile buyers.

Tablets are also contributing to a growth in m-commerce, researchers found. Sixty-three percent of tablet owners are expected to make a purchase on their device this year. That number is only expected to grow, as nearly 80 percent of tablet owners are expected to make a purchase on the device by 2017.

"Apps, in particular, appear to be playing an important role in leading shoppers down the path to purchase," the eMarketer report said. "Just more than one-third of respondents said they had downloaded an app specific to a particular store, making it the most popular type of shopping app used by consumers."

In addition to those apps, consumers also utilized a number of other apps in their shopping experiences. Store locator apps, general coupons apps and daily deal apps were all also very popular among consumers who used their phones to make a purchase decision.

Follow David Mielach on Twitter @D_M89 . Follow us @bndarticles, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.