More Holiday Shopping Being Done on Mobile Devices

8085629858_be68d12232_zThe holiday season is officially here, which means millions of Americans will be heading out to the shopping malls to purchase gifts for their friends and family members — at least that’s what normally happens during this time of year. This Thanksgiving/Black-Friday, however, took a different turn for retailers. Instead of the large, amusement park-long lines of shoppers waiting to get their hands on the latest gadget, crowds were relatively calm and small. So, what caused this trend? And is it something that will continue to happen in 2016 and going forward?

There’s a good reason why fewer shoppers took to the stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday: because they are choosing to shop via their smartphones or tablets instead. Mobile devices have come a long ways over the years, improving in terms of speed and functionality. Many of the newer mobile devices can perform the same operations as a desktop computer. But let’s face it, it’s easier to perform Internet searches and browse webpages on your smartphone as opposed to a computer. This is the mentality that many shoppers have; thus, triggering fewer in-person sales and more online sales.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that shoppers are staying at home, however. According to data released by the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday shopping is expected to increase 3.7% this year from 2014. While this growth pales in comparison to the 2013-2014 holiday shopping growth, it’s still trending in the right direction.

Matt Shay, NRF Chief Executive, revealed some positive indications of a strong holiday shopping season, such as low unemployment numbers, dirt-cheap fuel prices, and attractive sales and promotions offered by retailers. All of these elements are helping to boost holiday sales this season, even in the midst of a lower in-person shopper turnout. We really won’t know just how well retailers perform, though, until the holiday season is over.

Of course, manufacturers will benefit from the holiday season regardless of whether shoppers are buying items in person or online. Even with more shopping being done online, there’s still the same — if not a greater — demand for the products; thus, manufacturers must continue to meet these demands.

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