Mobile Expected to Play a Big Role in Black Friday, Cyber Monday Sales

  • After the turkey is carved tomorrow, the 2012 holiday shopping season will officially begin – and mobile will have a giant impact on holiday sales.
  • Many big-name brands such as Google, Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon have unleashed new or updated apps to assist smartphone-wielding holiday shoppers.
  • After 66 million tablets were sold during the 2011 holiday season, industry pundits predict that tablets will continue to dominate wish lists this holiday season, thanks largely to to new product releases.

Beginning as early as tomorrow, 28 percent of smartphone or tablet-owning adults plan to holiday shop via their mobile devices, reported Mobile Marketer. The trend of “couch commerce,” coined by eBay and PayPal for when consumers go from the Thanksgiving dinner table to the couch to start holiday shopping, will continue exploding. Both companies saw a 511 percent increase in global mobile payment activities on Thanksgiving 2011 from Thanksgiving 2010. On Cyber Monday, 83 percent of consumers are expected to shop from home, further increasing the use of mobile to purchase gifts.

Aside from carrying bags in their hands on Black Friday, shoppers will also carry a powerful shopping assistant in their pockets – their smartphones. As a result, many big brands have rolled out new apps or updates just in time for the shopping frenzy. Google is now promoting inside floor plans of major retailers, while Wal-Mart is highlighting locations of major Black Friday markdowns. Target’s app is helping busy parents by scanning QR codes next to popular toys, paying via phones and shipping purchases for free. Amazon’s Price Check is expected to see heavy mobile traffic as shoppers search for discounted deals from the online retailer. To help arm smartphone users for the holiday shopping season, WIRED has listed its picks of top retail apps.

Atop wish lists this year are tablets, which are expected to surge this holiday season, according to Fox Business. The catalyst: new slimmer and smaller tablets such as Apple’s iPad Mini and Microsoft’s Surface that recently hit shelves. The iPad Mini will likely draw lots of purchasers because of its smaller price tag, and the Surface will potentially generate big sales because of its positive industry reviews. But consumers will ultimately have the final say in the success of the tablet PC market – and how many units will be sold this holiday season. 

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