Over half (51%) of the 998 shoppers questioned by independent market research agency PCP Market Research already had a smartphone, with that proportion set to increase dramatically by the end of the year.
While smartphone ownership is currently skewed towards younger shoppers, the majority of people who plan to buy a smartphone in 2012 are aged over 45, according to the survey.
Some 55% of respondents said they would like to replace all their loyalty cards with an app, while 44% said they would like to see smartphones used to help them track down items in-store.
The majority of shoppers were still reticent about near field communication (NFC), with just 41% saying they liked the idea of paying for low-price goods using their smartphone.
Alastair Lockhart, head of insight at Savvy Marketing said: "Smartphones are quickly becoming a mainstream marketing channel that few retailers and brand owners can afford to ignore.
"Smartphones are no longer only for targeting a younger audience, with the majority of those planning to buy a smartphone in 2012 aged over 45."
Follow Matthew Chapman at @mattchapmanUK