Mobile Matters


Holiday Shopping is Going Mobile—Is Your Small Business Ready?

by: | September 28, 2011

It’s not yet beginning to look anything like Christmas, but that doesn’t mean the season isn’t already top of mind for most—if not all—retailers. Many merchants generate as much as a third of their annual revenues during the post-Thanksgiving period, after all. But it’s shaping up to be a not-so-happy holiday:

Eighty-two percent of American consumers say they plan to spend only as much or even less on their shopping this year as last year, according to a new survey published by America’s Research Group. More than half of survey respondents expect the economy to slip further before it recovers, and roughly 51 percent say they feel no better about their family’s current financial health than they did a year ago.

“Retailers better be worried about Christmas,” Britt Beemer, president of America’s Research Group, tells Reuters. “If half of Americans believe it is going to be worse before it gets better, they may not be too excited about buying much this Christmas season.”

That means it’s more crucial than ever for retailers to leverage all the competitive advantages at their disposal—including, of course, the mobile channel. Especially during a holiday season when cash-strapped consumers are going to be searching high and low for the biggest bargains and steepest discounts, look for a growing number of shoppers to leverage their mobile phones and tablets (devices like Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab) to seek out nearby deals, compare prices and check product availability.

Based on historical growth metrics, Google anticipates 15 percent of all this year’s Black Friday searches will originate via mobile device. Even more notable, the digital services giant forecasts 44 percent of total searches for last-minute gifts and store locator terms will originate on mobile devices, with Google theorizing that as a significant number of shoppers miss free shipping deadlines, they will instead turn to area brick-and-mortar retailers to find the gifts they need. In fact, 65 percent of smartphone and tablet users report they’ve used their device to find a local business and then made an in-person purchase at that store, according to a survey conducted by Google’s AdMob mobile advertising network unit.

And while much of the U.S. is scaling back on holiday purchases this year, not everyone is tightening their purse strings—in fact, some of the biggest spenders are spending on mobile. eBay data indicates that tablet owners (about 8 percent of American adults, most of them college graduates with annual household incomes in excess of $75,000) spend 50 percent more on average than PC users, with higher or equivalent conversion rates. In addition, more than a third of smartphone and tablet users plan to start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. Looking solely at the tablet audience, the number surges to 45 percent—at the same time, just 17 percent of tablet users plan to begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday. That means savvy retailers will want to roll out their seasonal campaigns early to land the affluent, upscale customers they desire most. The holidays may still be months away, but the time to go mobile is now.Marketing Zeus

Posted in: Analytics, B2C, Branding, Campaign Development, Content, Direct Response, E-Commerce, Geolocation, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters, Optimization, SMS, Social Coupons, Usability

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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