Mobile makes a move on holiday shopping

A new study predicts one in three mobile-deivce owners will use their gadgets to shop during the holiday season.

Mobile Makes a Big Move on Holiday Shopping

By Features FOXBusiness

Mobile devices have already taken over much of consumers’ lives. Now they’re making a move on the holiday shopping season.

The holidays account for more than one-fifth of retailers’ sales for the year, and consumers are continuing to rely more on their phones and tablets when it comes to shopping. Analysts are now saying the 2014 holiday season is set to take this mobile trend to another level, with several retailers making changes that cater to the mobile space.

A new study from Retale, a popular web platform connecting shoppers and retailers, shows nearly three out of every 4 mobile-device owners will use their gadgets to shop during the holidays.

“There is no doubt that mobile must be a part of everyone’s holiday strategy, from giving customers an opportunity to find deals to helping them find your stores…mobile is where it’s at this year,” Pat Dermody, President of Retale said. “Retailers started to push (for mobile) in the last holiday season, and now many of them have built their own platform and optimized their sites for mobile devices.”

Retailers are targeting these shoppers by pursuing smartphone paid campaigns, mobile display ad campaigns, and mobile email optimization to ensure the consumer has easy access to deals and other merchant information when using their phone.

Breaking out just the smartphone portion of mobile devices, a separate survey by the National Retail Federation showed 55.7% of owners will use their device in some fashion this holiday season, up from 53.8% last year. For tablet owners, nearly two-thirds will use their device to research and purchase holiday items.

The online and mobile shoppers are also likely to be the bigger spenders. According to a study by Shop.org, online shoppers plan to spend 16% more this holiday season than all other shoppers for merchandise including gifts, decorations, greeting cards and food.

Walmart(WMT) is one merchant analysts say is leading the way in this new era of mobile apps. The world’s largest retailer recently launched an app known as Savings Catcher that matches competitor prices and gives the customer a gift card for the price difference.

“The next era of mobile apps will be defined in two ways: (1) it gives a person instant gratification in the form of a reward, building brand trust and spurring impulse buys; and (2) reaching customers when they are outside of the physical walls of the store,” Brian Sozzi, CEO & Chief Equities Strategist at Belus Capital Advisors said.

Further enforcing this change, Alibaba (BABA) saw sales exceed $9 billion during their Singles Day shopping festival, with 42.6% coming from mobile devices.  

“Imagine leaving your building and you instantly get an alert on your cell phone from Gap (GPS) across the street that your favorite colored t-shirt is 25% off for the next 20 minutes, just for you,” Sozzi said.

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