According to Deloitte’s 24th Annual Holiday Survey of retail spending and trends, social media and mobile phones are emerging as key influencers this holiday season.  The survey states that 17% or one out of five consumers are planning to use social media to help them find gifts this holiday season.  Sixty percent of these consumers are counting on social media to provide them discounts, coupons and sale information, while 53% of these consumers are using the networks to research gift ideas.

The mobile phone is also going to be a helpful tool for people this holiday season as 19% of consumers will count on their phone to assist with their holiday shopping, including 55% who need help locating a store, 45% who are researching prices, 40% finding out product information and 32% searching for discounts and coupons.  The study also believes that a staggering 25% of consumers are expected to make a holiday purchase via their phone.

The Internet and the information that it can provide is another way that people will be shopping this year.  Thirty-nine percent of consumers read customer-generated reviews of stores and or products online and 25% say they will purchase a product based on online recommendations.  In fact, more than a third of people say that online consumer reviews are more influential in their purchasing decision than advertising is.

In order for a company to have a successful holiday season, it wouldn’t hurt to test out the online waters.  There is no cost to set up a facebook and twitter page and when you reach out to your consumers directly, it is more likely that the word-of-mouth advertising (which is becoming more and more important) will be more positive and if it isn’t you have more control to minimize the not-so-positive responses and reach out to the consumer and change their opinion.

For more information from Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, go to: www.deloitte.com/us/2009HolidaySurvey.

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