Holiday spending is on the rise.

New consumer holiday shopping and spending predictions are out for 2016, and all forecasts show an increasing in spending across the board for both in-store and online sales. Retailers locally and nationwide will hire new seasonal employees in order to support the demands of higher sales while maintaining a consistent, positive customer experience for everyone. It’s a win-win for both retailers whose bottom line revenue will grow and those seeking a little extra cash for holidays.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects retail sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurants) to increase 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion. They’re predicting online sales to grow between 7 and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion.

A survey conducted by Kelton Global reports that 61 percent of shoppers plan to spend more this holiday season than last, and nearly one in three shoppers plan to spend at least $200 more. The survey goes on to say that despite the increase in spending, consumers will take advantage of deals and offers by seeking out savings prior to shopping either in-store or online. Furthermore, one in five shoppers will plan to use a deals and savings app during the holiday season.

Get the attention of shoppers.

78% of shoppers use Internet for holiday researchHoliday planning starts as early as September for some Americans. Getting the attention of shoppers requires a combination of tactics, including online advertising, social media, emails, television, print ads, direct mail, and, most importantly, proving exceptional customer service.

With technology literally at their fingertips, shoppers are more informed and more efficient than ever before. According to Google, 78 percent of shoppers use the internet for holiday research and 4 in 5 smartphone holiday shoppers used their phone during spare moments or while doing other activities last year. While shoppers still value touching a product, they’re tapping a screen at the same time. Mobile searches in stores are up by more than 30 percent.

Ad tech company Fluent surveyed nearly 2,000 US consumers about their upcoming holiday shopping plans and reported that nearly 2 in 5 (39 percent) stated they would be making purchases on mobile, driven heavily by younger Americans.

This begs the question to retailers then: Are you prepared for holiday shoppers now — in store and online? Retailers need to be present wherever and whenever someone is shopping.

Related: Advertising for a Small Business: 6 Proven Strategies

Mobile marketing is critical.

Mobile has forever changed the way people shop. Google said it best, “we all rely on small businesses to help make our holidays special, and we rely on the Internet to help us find the right local spots.” This is exactly why mobile is set to influence shopping trends this holiday season in a big way! And it’s why business owners and marketers need to ensure their websites and holiday ads are mobile optimized.

A quick recap of Google’s data indicates just how big of a role mobile will play in retailer and brand success this season.


Mobile increases your chances of reaching new customers.

  • Last year, more than 50 percent of holiday shoppers said they were open to purchasing from new retailers.
  • More than three-quarters of smartphone shoppers who usually go to the same physical stores when they shop for products are very open to new retailers and brands online.
  • After searching on Google, 76 percent of mobile shoppers have changed their mind about which retailer or brand to purchase.

Mobile increases your chances of getting more in-store traffic.

  • Sixty-four percent of smartphone shoppers turn to mobile search for ideas about what to buy before heading into a store.
  • 76 percent of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day, and 28 percent of those searches result in a purchase.

Mobile videos are helping guide gift buying.

  • 1 in 4 mobile video viewers in the US have visited YouTube for help with a purchase decision while they were at a store, or visiting a store’s website.

Mobile shoppers are looking for the “best” products and unique gifts.

  • During last holiday season, mobile searches related to “best gift” grew 70 percent year-over-year while mobile searches related to cheap or inexpensive gifts grew about 35 percent.
  • Shoppers are willing to do the research to the make the best decision. On YouTube, mobile watch time for product review videos has grown 60 percent year-over-year.
  • Mobile searches related to “unique gifts” grew more than 65 percent while mobile searches related to “cool gifts” grew a whopping 80 percent.

Help holiday shoppers find your business online.

Marc Jenkins, Digital Media Sales Director at Times-Union Media, chimes in on the effectiveness of mobile marketing with our customers right here in Jacksonville. “With most of our partners, we are seeing mobile engagement rates equal to or slightly more than desktop,” Jenkins said. “Mobile isn’t the future; its the present. If your strategy doesn’t include mobile, your strategy is half-baked.” 

It’s not too late to take the necessary steps to ensure your business is prepared to reach the online and mobile holiday shoppers this season. At Times-Union Media, we can help you grow your local business online and reach new customers this holiday season in a variety of ways.

We have teams trained to create websites that provide responsive viewing experiences across a range of devices. Our online display advertising resources enable us to deliver the right messaging to your organization’s targeted audience. And, we can help you create content and maintain your company’s social media presence in order to drive traffic back to your website.

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