Holidays heating up, head in digital direction

Retailers will be promoting early and often during the upcoming holiday season, especially with six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and mobile is sure to play an even greater role this year than it did in 2012.

Walmart has already announced the official start of the holiday season begins on Friday, Sept. 13, with a no-fee layaway program on categories such as electronics, toys, jewelry, small appliances and sporting goods. Those who follow the company on Facebook can open a layaway account two days earlier, in a sign of increasing multichannel integration that promises to make this the most digital Christmas ever.

Another indicator to that effect is the accelerating momentum of mobile commerce. Total m-commerce spending is poised to exceed $25 billion this year following a 24% surge in second quarter smartphone and tablet enabled sales that pushed estimated spending to $4.7 billion, according to digital measurement provider comScore. The firm said m-commerce spending in the first half of the year totaled $10.6 billion, representing 10% of total digital commerce during that time. With the expected seasonal surge coming in the fourth quarter, m-commerce spending could surpass $25 billion for the full year, according to comScore’s estimates.

“While mobile devices are already extremely influential in the overall buying process, they are also beginning to