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Merry Mobilemas

Source: Phoenix UX, 30 November 2012

According to IBM's Black Friday Benchmark Report 2012 (which tracked the online holiday retail sales throughout Thanksgiving and Black Friday), there is no doubt that mobile is the real deal when it comes to shopping. Their data show that mobile sales on Black Friday in US reached 16%, which represents a 63% growth compared to 2011.

Looking at the predictions for UK shopping trends for this Christmas, more and more shoppers will use their mobile and tablet devices to shop and browse, which is great news for those retailers who invested in a strong mobile offering.

Deloitte's sales predictions for this Christmas seem quite encouraging, according to their forecasts, purchases made by smartphone will be double or triple compared to last year's figures. Around £3.2 billion of in-store Christmas sales will be influenced by smartphones, with another £330 million of sales made directly through the devices, while sales made through tablets will account for £500 million.

This is also backed up by the results from a recent survey carried out by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, which found that 41% of smartphone owners will consider making Christmas purchases from their mobile devices this year, a 20% increase compared to last year.

All good news for online retail, but what about the impact of mobile on the high street? Joshua Bamfield, director at the Centre for Retail Research, said recently that up to 1,000 shops could close if Christmas sales are worse than expected. With mobile devices increasingly influencing shopping decisions, retailers need to battle with the concept of 'showrooming' (shoppers come in store to look at goods, but then use their mobile device to check for the best price online and most of them will decide to buy from elsewhere).

It is still too early to assess the mobile's real impact on retail, but I believe that just now, there will be no real losers this Christmas, however it will hopefully be a learning experience and eye opener for retailers to understand the tr ue exten t and influence that mobile shopping and 'showrooming' could have in the future.

As an early gift from Santa, there is a new app that might solve retailers' dilemma of how to avoid losing sales because of the showrooming effect. Tapestry - a UK mobile shopping startup, claims that their apps can be really beneficial for retailers, by creating a personalised mobile shopping channel for customers, while providing the retailer with data on shoppers' preferences.

See Phoenix UX website for further details