FARMINGTON — At Animas Valley Mall in Farmington this weekend, shoppers clutched their cell phones as much as shopping bags.

Christmas 2012 is all about the phone. There are more than a dozen state-of-the-art smartphones that are wished-for gifts this holiday season and people who already have smartphones are finding them to be important tools for finding deals and checking product availability.

"It narrows down the places that you go," said Amanda Lewis, an 18-year-old Farmington woman. "You find what you want, and it cuts out those places that don't have it."

Lewis used her iPhone to track down the perfect protective case for her phone.

Natasha Yazzie, of Kayenta, Ariz., spent the Thanksgiving holiday visiting relatives in Farmington and Christmas shopping. For her, a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone were potential gifts for her sisters.

Her own smartphone made her Black Friday shopping experience more efficient.

"I got in, got what I needed and got out," Yazzie said. A smartphone "gives you a good idea of what you are looking for instead of wasting gas money."

Yazzie, like many shoppers this year, used her smartphone to compare advertisements and prices and had an idea of what she was looking for and how much it was going to cost before she arrived to the stores.

Businesses all over the country relied more on smartphones to attract customers this year than in years past.

A Pew Internet Survey released earlier this year said 45 percent of American adult now have a smart phone compared to 35 percent of Americans in 2011. Among young adults aged 18 to 29, two-thirds carry a smart phone.

Thomas Herndon, the general manager of Best Buy in Farmington, said Best Buys stores around the country were trying to capitalize on smartphone-toting shoppers.

One shopping application called Shopkick was particularly popular this year and Best Buys all over the country participated with the program. Shopkick allows people to earn points just by walking into participating stores. The points can then be used for additional discounts.

Herndon said Best Buy also allows customers to scan products using their smartphones to get cost information and read product reviews.

"Everybody likes to do their own research," he said.

George Brooks, of Aztec, was one of several shoppers at the mall on Saturday afternoon who was intently scrolling through information on his smartphone.

Turns out, though, Brooks was one of the few who wasn't using his device to compare prices or find a bargain.

"I'm talking crap about Artesia," Brooks, an Aztec Tigers football fan, said. Aztec and Artesia played against each other in the state football playoffs quarterfinals on Saturday. "I have friends down in Artesia and they are posting updates to Facebook."