Ho, Ho, Ho! ‘Tis the Season to Be… Ready for the Changing Trends in Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping means optimizing your site's online experience to best take advantage of the surge in the season's demand.

Years ago, for a retailer, preparing for the holiday season meant decorating their shop windows with snow spray, putting on scarves and gloves on their mannequins and playing Christmas carols on the loudspeaker. In today’s rapidly growing mobile market, in which every day online experiences such as checking e-mail, searching for information on the web, purchases, social media activity, etc., happen on mobile devices more so than on PCs, a merchant preparing for the holiday season is a whole different ball game.

A merchant who is aware of market trends for the upcoming holiday season can better prepare themselves to serve clients and improve their bottom line. So what exactly are the purchasing trends for this upcoming holiday season?

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Mobile is the fastest-growing channel for online shopping

The first thing you should know is that mobile is the fastest-growing channel for online shopping, especially for researching purchases, so having a responsive mobile platform is key. According to the Google/Ipsos MediaCT, Consumer Holiday Intentions Study of 2015, 53% of online purchases happen on a smartphone or tablet, and for the 2015 holiday season, that number is expected to grow as consumers become more confident with their devices’ security measures and screens become larger, thus making it easier to view a products’ features and enter information such as credit card numbers and addresses.

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Shoppers are using their mobile devices for every step of the purchasing process, from finding inspiration, to researching and then purchasing. What’s more, the process is not done in one sitting, but rather in multiple, short sessions throughout the day. The data shows that shoppers now spend 7% less time in each mobile session, however, smartphones’ share of online purchases has gone up 64% over the last year. Thus, it’s important that a merchant’s shopping platform supports “remember me” features and provides highly personalized, relevant information whether for research or for actual purchases.

Merchants must provide shoppers with a seamless experience across devices

Holiday shoppers are also not committed to one platform. They may begin their purchasing process on their phone, then move over to tablet and finish the purchase on their PC. To succeed in this multi-channel market preference, merchants must provide shoppers with a seamless experience across devices.

Merchants should take advantage of the increased traffic to collect valuable data that can help them understand their customers better and enhance the customer profile.

For the financial trading sector in particular, we have seen dramatic changes in the use of mobile use in the past year or so. We have gone from traders mainly using their mobile devices to check the status of their positions, exit a position quickly if the market took a downturn or to check their SL and TP trigger points, to now conducting actual trading on their smartphones. During the holiday season however, the trading industry is traditionally slow since the disposable income it relies on is spent on holiday shopping rather than on trading and there are less trading days in December. While December may be a good time for brokers to relax and sip some hot cocoa, they should also take the time to put in place their mobile strategies and implement the use of innovative and attractive mobile platforms so that they can be ready once all those iPhones and Androids purchased over the holiday season are put to good use come January.

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