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You're Going to Shop for the Holidays in Constant Micro-Bursts, Says Google

And, if the tech giant's predictions prove correct, on your phone.
Photo: Imaxtree

Photo: Imaxtree

Last year, one of the big retail stories in the days following Thanksgiving was that the frenzied enthusiasm with which consumers usually approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales had dimmed somewhat. The change didn't spell ruin for big retailers, though. Discounting took place throughout the entire week, and accordingly, people spread their shopping out over a longer span of time, rather than going all-out in a single day.

The trend toward more low-key, but ongoing, shopping looks to be rolling over to this season. According to a new report from Google, which drew from its own data and research conducted by Ipsos MediaCT on consumers' plans for the upcoming season, holiday shopping is increasingly less about one big concerted effort and more about browsing continuously in small snatches of time, or what the tech giant is calling "micro-moments." Google says that 54 percent of those surveyed aim to shop on their phones in the spare minutes throughout their days — while they're walking, commuting and waiting in line for a coffee.

So, yes, mobile is getting more important to the shopping process. Google trotted out plenty of numbers to prove that point: shopping-related searches on mobile have grown 120 percent over the past year, and 82 percent of smartphone users are going to consult their phones while in a brick-and-mortar store. Of all online purchases, 30 percent will happen on mobile, a 64 percent increase from last year in smartphones' share of online purchases.

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When is all this going down? Soon. Google says that 61 percent of shoppers will start their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving, 17 percent more than last year. 

Gird your loins, friends, and charge your phones.