Commentary

Mobile Consumers & Holiday Shopping Time

As holiday sales forecasts start to come in, retailers tapping into mobile could be facing a good season.

Even well before Halloween, various entities are predicting and forecasting a relatively strong shopping season overall.

Online retailers again will face off against the brick and mortar world with mobile shoppers totally empowered to go either route.

In the online retail world, most merchants (68%) did not express plans for new or even continued investments in mobile infrastructure for the holiday season, based on a new study. That survey of 1,000 online retailers, conducted by Edelman Berland for eBay Enterprise, found that mobile commerce ranked ninth in their investment priorities.

This could be good news for physical retailers who have been moving to mobile more than others.

Overall holiday gift spending is projected to be 8% higher than last year, according to the Prosper Spending Score. Based on data from shoppers from a select group of 150 retailers Prosper tracks monthly, the most bullish consumers are those at Gap, Costco, Macy’s, Sam’s Club and Nordstrom.

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In another online shopping study, 86% of retailers expect their holiday sales this year to top last year’s. The survey of more than 200 online retailers, conducted by Redshift Research for Channel Advisor, found that more than a quarter (27%) of retailers expect an increase in holiday sales of 11 to 15 percent.

Perhaps to the dismay of many consumers, 42% of retailers plan to begin their holiday push this month. The good news is that 41% plan to offer free shipping and returns to incent sales.

On the other hand, studies consistently show that consumers want to shop in physical stores.

In either case, most shoppers have a smartphone and the increasing ability to use that device throughout the shopping process, whether online or in a store.

The mobile shopper will be stores this holiday season. The bigger question is what physical retailers will do about it this time around.

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