Telecommunications and retail exchange traded funds (ETFs) could see future benefits of increased consumer spending via coupons in their mailboxes. Well, cellular mailboxes.

The cellphone industry is starting to team up with retail shops in allowing cellphone users to browse for deals or recieve alerts at stores and then use the phone as a virtual coupon at the cashier, reports Bob Tedeschi for the New York Times.

One service provider in this nascent industry is Cellfire, but recent reviews show that users are vexed by the dearth of available coupons from the application and the lack of deals in any shops in big populated zones. This may change as Cellfire grows and it recently signed a deal with Kroger (KR), a grocery chain, that provided a list to users of 10 to 30 offers.

Cellphone users of AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) may find the Cellfire service on the phone’s application stores while Sprint (S) users will have to visit the Cellfire website.

Another coupon service provider, 8Coupons, may be of use to New Yorkers where almost all of its 1,200 or so coupons are for products sold in Manhattan.

Retailers are starting to pick up the potential for such a service with Wal-Mart (WMT) jumping in and sending out alerts to subscribers.

There is always the nagging annoyance of possible hodgepodge of mobile spam and a hefty monthly bill associated with such new services, potentially wiping out any savings at the register. But if consumers do sign up, the possibility of growth may be reflected in such ETFs as:

  • SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 33.1% year-to-date; with holdings of Kroger 2.8%; Wal-Mart 2.5%

ETF XRT performance

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications (IYZ): down 42% year-to-date; with holdings of Sprint 4.6%; AT&T 26.6%; Verizon 18.5%

ETF IYZ performance

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.