Deloitte's 2012 Annual Holiday Survey revealed some surprising trends, especially in the mobile space. To start, there is a clear rise in optimism in 2012 versus 2011, but despite this brighter outlook shoppers are still being cautious about their amount of holiday spending and the number of gifts consumers plan to buy continues to decline. Interestingly, the presidential election is also a factor as nearly 25% say they are waiting for it to happen before they spend. As expected the internet will play a major role in holiday shopping this season, with 45% planning to shop online and 11% doing so with a tablet. In addition, 68% expect to use a smartphone to help with holiday shopping.

Not only are the majority of shoppers planning to use their smartphones for holiday shopping, the study found that smartphone usage and multi-channel shopping (mobile, store, and internet) lead to higher spending expectations, as seen above. Spending projections nearly double for those consumers who use mobile and the internet in addition to shopping in stores. In addition, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they will change the way they shop to save money, and nearly 50% of those consumers plan to go online to find better prices, coupons, and deals. In total, 45% of shoppers expect to shop online, up 10% from just two years ago. 23% of all shoppers surveyed will conduct the majority of their shopping online.

This holiday season, information about products will come mainly from digital sources, particularly among younger shoppers. About 75% of Millennials expect to discover items to purchase this holiday season via digital platforms (online, social media, or mobile phone). Social media also looks to play an important role, as nearly half of all respondents will use social media to assist with their holiday shopping. Of those planning to use the platform, over half plan to use social media to find discounts and research gift ideas. This presents a huge opportunity for marketers to establish a presence on both mobile and social platforms so consumers are able to find the best and most accurate information about products and services this holiday season.