Rapidly improving technology means the way in which consumers do their holiday shopping is evolving each and every year.  The use of mobile technology is expected to figure into the 2012 holiday shopping season in a big way.  New research, gathered by Deloitte LLP from a pool of 5,089 people, has found that about 50% of consumers own smartphones, and 70% of those who do, plan to use them to help with their holiday shopping.

“We anticipate that retailers will increasingly interact with mobile shoppers this holiday season,” says Alison Paul, vice chairman of Deloitte.  Retailers and other business owners have reason to be excited about this increase in mobile activity, since mobile shoppers spend an average of 72% more than shoppers without smartphones.

The use of smartphones during the holiday shopping season is not limited to making purchases, but also includes comparing prices, researching products, and locating stores.  Alison Paul says that “Deloitte’s research into smartphones’ influence on in-store sales indicates that the conversion rate for shoppers who use a retailer’s dedicated mobile applications, Wi-Fi connectivity and personalized, location-based promotions can enable shoppers to make an immediate buying decision in the store.”

The average holiday shopper is generally more connected and better equipped than ever before, thanks to the variety of online tools accessible from anywhere and at any time.  67% of consumers say they plan to use social media, the internet, and smartphones to find product reviews this holiday season.  45% will shop online, and 48% will search for gift ideas through social media.

Despite how much the holiday shopping process has gone digital, most consumers still report an interest in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.  The experience of interacting with a helpful staff remains a potent reason why consumers aren’t ready to move the entirety of their shopping experience online just yet.  According to Deloitte, 60% of consumers are more likely to buy from a store with a knowledgeable staff.

In Alison Paul’s estimation, “The store continues to be central to holiday shopping, but its role and that of the store associate is evolving as the physical and virtual shopping experiences merge.  Associates should be more informed and empowered than in the past; they should…be well-versed on promotions and products that customers are viewing via the retailer’s mobile and online channels.”


Mielach, David. “Smartphone Holiday Shopping on the Rise” Business News Daily, 11/12/12.

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