Fewer Tricks, More Treats for Holiday Shoppers This Year

The holiday shopping season is finally here, and as shoppers hunt for the perfect gift, the POPSUGAR Insights team is hard at work reviewing data from the first two weeks of November and from our 2013 Holiday Shopping Report to identify this year's key seasonal shopping trends.

This year, the holiday shopping season began in earnest as early as Halloween, and the competition for share of consumer holiday spending among retailers has never been more intense. To respond to mounting pressure, retailers kicked off the holiday shopping season earlier than ever and offered more deals in advance of Black Friday. Consumers are responding, beginning their holiday shopping earlier as well. According to our 2013 Holiday Shopping report, 42% of women indicated that they began their holiday shopping prior to or around Halloween, as compared to 34% of women who began their holiday gift shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

The rise in mobile ubiquity creates incredible convenience for consumers, giving them the ability to shop wherever and whenever they want. The growth in mobile and tablet device penetration and usage is also helping increase traffic and conversions at commerce sites. Over the first two weeks of November, unique visitors to ShopStyle.com via a smartphone grew 60%, and tablet visitors grew 32% this year compared to the same two-week period in 2012. According to our 2013 Holiday Shopping report, 34% of women use a smartphone and 30% use a tablet to shop for their holiday gifts. ShopStyle.com visitor data confirms this trend.

Savvy retailers are responding to the increased competition and the earlier start to the shopping season by offering discounted items earlier in the season than usual. In both 2013 and 2012, the majority of ShopStyle.com visitors in the first two weeks of November who clicked to purchase items selected full-price items. However, this year ShopStyle.com saw a 20% year-over-year increase in shoppers who clicked to purchase discounted items (43.6% in 2013 vs. 36.2% in 2012).

A rise in mobile and tablet device usage for holiday shopping combined with an earlier start to the shopping season mean huge benefits for consumers as they enjoy the convenience of being able to shop whenever and wherever they want and the benefits of advertisers who are offering discounts earlier in the season than usual. For brands, increased competition combined with the earlier shopping season means that it's more important than ever to offer an optimized mobile experience to engage consumers who are shopping from their mobile and tablet devices and drive them toward conversion.