Ten of the best apps for doing your Christmas shopping

Ten of the best apps for doing your Christmas shopping

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Ten of the best apps for doing your Christmas shopping” was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Saturday 28th November 2015 07.00 UTC

It’s not that many years since the idea of shopping on your phone – or “m-commerce” as the jargon of the time put it – was laughed at by many experts. Who would actually buy stuff from that little device in their pockets? As it turns out, lots of people.

Smartphones and tablets may never completely replace the utter hell visceral thrills of barging your way round crowded high-street stores with 17 bags in hand, but with a bit of planning, your mobile devices can spare you the hard work.

As 2015’s Christmas shopping season gets into full swing, here are some of the best apps to browse and buy presents for your nearest, your dearest, and your barely-known work colleagues you’ve drawn in the Secret Santa.

Amazon
Android / iOS

Amazon has long been a go-to service for Christmas shopping, thanks to its wishlist feature, recommendations and reviews, and – if you pay for its Prime subscription – speedy shipping for last-minute panic buys when an extra aunt or two confirm for Christmas lunch.

Amazon.
Amazon.

Etsy
Android / iOS

If you’re looking for more leftfield gifts for the people you really care about, an hour or two browsing Etsy can yield plenty of possibles. Its focus on “handmade, vintage and creative” products means you’ll find gifts beyond what you see in the big chain stores – although for items shipping from overseas, you’ll want to order early.

Etsy.
Etsy.

Pinterest
Android / iOS

Pinterest isn’t a shopping app in most parts of the world, yet, although in the US it has introduced “buyable pins” to buy products within the app. For everyone else, Pinterest is a marvellous way to browse ideas – gifts included – and save the best to your own boards for reference during the pre-Christmas period. You can also use the app to pin photos of products you see while wandering real-world shops.

Pinterest
Pinterest.

Depop
Android / iOS

Depop sits alongside Etsy as a good source of more interesting and unique gifts, with a skew towards design, vintage fashion, vinyl and trainers. It’s a well thought-out app though, with chat – through comments and direct messages – a key part of deciding what you want to buy. You can also use it as a seller, if you’ve got goods to shift that fit its creative ethos.

Depop
Depop.

eBay
Android / iOS

A Christmas shopping roundup wouldn’t be complete without eBay, which has worked solidly on its mobile apps in recent years to make them as quick and accessible as possible. Keeping tabs on items you’re bidding on works well through the app’s notifications features, while its barcode-scanning feature remains useful for checking eBay prices for items you see in physical shops.

eBay
eBay.

Gift Finder by Not On The High Street
iOS

Another option for anyone who wants to look beyond the obvious gifts this Christmas. One of Gift Finder’s most useful features is the ability to drill down into its products according to your budget and the recipient: for example, a search for £50-£100 gifts for a male house-proud “style icon” brings up necklaces, satchels, cufflink boxes and various prints.

Gift Finder
Gift Finder.

Fancy
Android / iOS

Definitely the best shopping app sharing its name with an Iggy Azalea song, but also one of the slickest ways to browse, share and buy gifts. The social element is a big part of Fancy: as on Pinterest, you build your own collections of products that friends can see. Note, the default currency is dollars, but you can change that to pounds in the preferences, with listings showing whether products ship to the UK.

Fancy
Fancy.

Shpock
Android / iOS

Imagine if Sean Connery had taken the Captain Kirk role in Star Trek… Weak jokes about its name aside, Schpock is well worth a virtual rootle in the run-up to Christmas. The app styles itself as a “boot sale and classifieds app”, with an emphasis on secondhand goods in categories from home and garden or baby and child to leisure and games. It also has a local focus: highlighting products near you and providing the ability to ask questions or make private offers.

Shpock
Shpock.

Geek – Smarter Shopping
Android / iOS

Part of a bigger family of themed shopping apps by developer ContextLogic – Home covers design and decor, Cute covers beauty and so on – Geek may be the most appealing if you’ve a yin for technology. After asking what you like to buy, it generates you a feed of products promising up to 80% discounts. Worth keeping an eye on for any tech gifts you’re considering.

Geek
Geek.

Argos
Android / iOS

Brits, eh? We’re more than happy to queue up in a physical shop to read a catalogue, write numbers down on paper with tiny pencils, then plonk ourselves down on a chair until our number’s called. Argos shopping, it’s fair to say, is one of our national quirks. Happily, the retailer’s app sidesteps the waits: you can browse and then either reserve for in-store collection or delivery. No pencils required.

Argos
Argos.

Those are our suggestions, but what apps have you been using to shop online, that you’d recommend in the run-up to Christmas? The comments section is open for your thoughts.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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