Using a smartphone to do Christmas shopping is more popular than ever, after research revealed that nearly nine out of 10 shoppers use a mobile device when Christmas shopping.

According to research by mobile commerce firm Weve, 88% of smartphone owners used their mobile as part of their Christmas shopping last year, with each user on average spending around £250, meaning almost £4 billion was spent on mobile around Christmas 2013.

Nigel Clarkson, commercial director at Weve, said: "The truth is that however big the 2013 mobile spree was, we are only just starting to see the real power of mobile, but the £245 figure surprised us and will give us a benchmark to check the increase in early 2015. One thing is certain: as the industry prepares for Christmas 2014, mobile Christmases are only going to get bigger and more sophisticated."

The findings come as the major smartphone brands announce and release their latest round of new devices, with Apple having announced a new payment system called Apple Pay, which will enable users to make purchases in-store by tapping their phone against a paypoint. The technology used, which will become active in early 2015, is called Near-Field Communication and already exists in some Android phones.

It replaces the need for a card and pin entry, with encrypted payment methods stored on your smartphone going directly to the merchant when triggered at the till.

Weve's research found that while around half of those they surveyed used a smartphone to make a purchase, 70% also used the web on their mobile device in order to find inspiration for their gift buying.

Although only 21% of those asked used a dedicated app, instead preferring to use the wider web to do their searching and shopping, 64% also said they used a smartphone to compare prices while in store, and Mr Clarkson believes that companies should seize on the public interest and give customers more opportunities to shop on mobile.

"There's clearly a huge opportunity for companies to engage with consumers via mobile this Christmas, but there's a danger for them too", he said.

"Great mobile campaigns don't happen by accident; if you are not mobile friendly, you will have missed the consumer, both in terms of awareness, research and purchase."

Weve surveyed more than 3,700 smartphone owners in January 2014.