Deloitte: Mobile, Social To Star In Holiday Shopping

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As Thanksgiving weekend approaches, a new study says stores can expect consumers to be working their mobile and social mojo much harder than last year. Deloitte, which surveyed just under 5,100 adults, says 68% of all smartphone owners expect to use them to shop this holiday. And 48% say social media will figure into their shopping plans, at least at some level. 

Retailers, who have long known that smartphone shoppers are both among the wiliest and most affluent, may be surprised at just how much: Deloitte, which found that 50% of respondents own a smartphone, reports that crowd plans to spend 72% more on the holidays than those without. 

So far, people’s plans for those phones are fairly conventional, with 62% intending to use them to get store locations, 58% to comparison shop and 50% to get product information.

But retailers who offer these shoppers more than the bare bones of mobile commerce stand to gain: The study finds that the conversion rate for shoppers using a retailer’s dedicated mobile app is 21% higher than those who don’t, for example. As a result, Deloitte expects to see retailers working hard to woo these shoppers with apps, Wi-Fi access, and personalized location promotions. (Kohl’s, Macy’s and Target are among the stores already doing so.)

Overall, Deloitte expects in-store sales that have been influenced in some way by smartphone to reach $36 billion, roughly 5% of total holiday store sales. 

Forty-five percent say they plan to do some shopping online. But an even bigger percentage -- 48% -- say they intend to use social networks to shop, either by looking for discounts (54%), scouting for gift ideas (53%) or reading reviews via social networks (47%.)

“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,” the consulting company says in its release of the results. “Associates should be more informed and empowered than in the past; they should have the ability to make price-matching decisions on the spot, and be well-versed on promotions and products that customers are viewing via the retailer’s mobile and online channels.”

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