It’s that time of year again. The air is chillier, parts of the country are already buried under 6 feet of snow, and commercials are reminding you to get a head start on your holiday shopping. Thanksgiving, and more importantly for retail marketers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are just days away.

Today, half of the entire U.S. population uses smartphones. As a nation, we are addicted to our devices and our apps. In fact, according to Mary Meeker’s latest report, most smartphone users now check their phones 150 times a day! So it’s no wonder that marketers are waking up to the fact that apps present an incredible canvas for marketing and engaging with consumers.

Is a new smartphone at the top of your Christmas wish list? If so, you're not alone. Last year, 6.8 million new iOS and Android mobile devices were unwrapped and activated on Christmas Day. And more than 1.2 billion apps were downloaded in between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

  • 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.