When Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, he was driven as much by financial desperation as inspiration. Dickens wrote and published the classic tale to pay off crippling debt, says a WIFE.org article. But, thanks to a few ghosts from his past, even Scrooge changed his miserly behavior and experienced the joy of Christmas gift giving.

A new holiday trends shopping report from Yesmail Interactive says that, due to the sluggish economy, many shoppers may act similarly Scrooge-like. According to an eBay/Edgell Network report, retailers are looking at a 5% decline in Thanksgiving sales due to showrooming; the use of stores as showrooms to research, view, touch or try, but then buy elsewhere wherever the best value can be found.

In addition, according to the Yesmail research, there will be a lot of procrastinators (51 percent) making their holiday purchases during November and the first two weeks of December. However, a full 24 percent will wait until December to start their shopping.

The bright side to this Scrooge-like Christmas – 7 out of 10 surveyed consumers plan to spend the same or more than they did in 2011, thus continuing the trend from last year when overall holiday sales increased by 4.1 percent.

Consumer holiday spending trend

Mobile: Santa’s Little Helper

The report states that 75 percent of the people it surveyed owned a smartphone or tablet device, and that 41 percent of those have made a purchase as a result of an email promotion viewed on their device. (Yesmail is an email sending platform provider.)

But the real key where mobile is concerned – at least this year – is not that consumers use mobile devices to make a purchase, but that they use them predominately to comparison shop.

  • 62 percent of surveyed mobile shoppers have used their device to compare web prices to in-store prices while in- store (at the point of purchase).
  • 64 percent of surveyed mobile shoppers have used their device to visit a company’s website to learn more about a product.
  • 48 percent of surveyed mobile shoppers have used their device to look up a product review while in-store in order to make an informed purchase decision.

Get Social This Year

Brand interaction on social media is growing, says the report, and social can have a big impact on consumer purchase behavior this holiday season. It found that:

  • 50 percent of consumers are are somewhat to strongly influenced by social media when making an online purchase.
  • 42 percent are somewhat to strongly influenced by social media when making an in-store purchase of consumers have
  • 34 percent purchased a product as a result of a promotion they saw on social media.

Regarding social, the report stated that the “influence of social commerce on in-store purchase decisions calls for tighter integration between social media and in-store promotions.”

During the holiday season, social channels should be used to promote various sales events, in-store events such as sampling or flash sales. Promoting this information to a brand’s social channel followers creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency, recommends Yesmail.

The report further recommended that, since most consumers prefer to shop in-store mainly during the weekend, the use of social media to influence in-store sales should be concentrated in the latter part of the week, such as Thursday and Friday, in order to drive in-store traffic.

In fact, Yesmail has a lot to say about the use of social commerce, and I would highly recommend taking time to review its findings and subsequent recommendations.

Let’s hope that Black Friday doesn’t bring the blues to retailers, but even if it does this report provides hope that shoppers will shed their Scrooge-like behavior and start spending to an even greater degree than they did in 2011.

Today’s article is sponsored by Payvment: The #1 Social Commerce Platform