Due to retailers’ shift to promoting online offers already during the Thanksgiving week, the holiday season has become increasingly digital. An October 2016 survey found that despite increasingly earlier sales promotions, the majority of online holiday shoppers were planning on starting their shopping in November of that year. Social media marketing and e-mail advertising is a big deal for retailers – 27 percent of survey respondents stated that messages about additional discounts or clearance sales would influence them to make a purchase at a local business for their holiday shopping needs. Social media is also an important place for consumers to get gift ideas, read reviews, to browse products and to coordinate gifts with friends and families.
Holiday shoppers have also increased their smartphone use – in 2016, 40 percent of shoppers took advantage of mobile e-mail while holiday shopping. Other leading smartphone holiday shopping usage factors include saving time and quick research on the go, as well as acquiring mobile coupons and deals.