Undoubtedly, the year following the global recession has been tough on the entire economy, having a severe impact on not only the way people choose to spend their discretionary income, but in many cases limiting the availability of this source of spending. Despite this slight gloom and doom, Christmas, like any other year, is a time for holiday cheer and celebration, and mobile users are showing little to no restraint in sharing the holiday spirit with their friends and family; in fact, according to the results of a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, nearly 50% of the respondents planned to utilize their smartphones as a preferred way to shop this holiday season. Moreover, according to Internet Retailer magazine, Americans are getting ready to spend roughly about $5.4 billion at the hands of some of the larger retailers that have gotten involved with mobile applications.
Retailers have accordingly responded to this trend by scurrying to get onboard the apps bandwagon to make whatever big bucks there are available from this marketing channel. An example is Toys "R" Us with a new digital Christmas catalogue this year - a mobile version of its annual Great Big Christmas Book which is used by consumers to identify possible Christmas presents. Bob Friedland, a spokesman for Toys "R" Us said, "As our customers move more and more into the digital space, we want to make sure we are providing them with ways to utilize the newest technologies to help make it easier for them to find information about our brand, the products we sell and the incredible deals available at Toys "R" Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com."
Undeniably mobile has a long way to go in the realm of digital marketing, and Christmas time is no exception to its popularity. In addition to retail-based apps, there is a wide array of just for fun mobile apps, both paid and free, for iPhone, Android and Blackberry users. A few popular iPhone Christmas apps include Sleeps till Christmas geared towards kids, providing a countdown in days/number of sleeps till Christmas, hours, minutes and seconds as well as iDeluxe, a Christmas utility app allowing adults to manage their Christmas cash flow and keep a track of their shopping lists. Christmas themes have begun to creep in the Android world as well, with apps such as DualBoot Games and Dancing Squirrel aligning themselves with the holiday season and developers such as Game Insight getting into the spirit of things with seasonal updates to My Country.
Given this versatile and dynamic marketing environment, the true challenge lies in the way retailers and developers continue to adapt themselves in line with the changing needs and preferences of their target audience, and find ways to remain relevant with their marketing strategies and product offerings.
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