How will Technology Affect Our Spending Habits this Holiday Season?

While many shoppers won’t be battling the crowds this year by buying all of their gifts online, many more will be in line waiting for the doors to open. Armed with their smartphones and tablets, customers will be using apps which offer up great gift ideas, ways to comparison-shop, and even opportunities to buy online while in the store. So, for those of us who fearlessly venture out to the mega-mall, here are just a few ways technology will influence how we’re shopping this holiday season.

Mobile Apps

Perhaps the newest trend is the availability of apps on smartphones and tablets that are specifically made to make your holiday shopping smoother. One lets you scan a barcode to see if it’s the best deal while another enables you to take a picture of the product and it gives you comparison prices. One app even helps you to beat other customers to the punch by locating the aisle holding that sought after gift.

Smartphone Marketing

Another interesting trend this season is in the strategies taken by marketers to catch us even when we’re not tied to our computers. Smartphone marketing may be the next big step in reaching consumers, and this holiday season will basically be the beta test. Many marketing agencies have set out to contact shoppers while they’re waiting in long lines, and offering big deals and discounts in “mobile-only” purchases.

Economical Technology Trends

Not only will we be using technology to make our shopping lives simpler, but we will also be looking for the next big advancement. The trend in technology itself is seen in the battle of the tablets—at half the cost, the Kindle Fire is posing a threat to iPad’s dominance, and a new iPhone competitor appears to be entering the market every day. For good reason: the consumer is wary of the economy, will most likely spend less this year, and will be looking for both bargains and value.

For those of us set on visiting the brick-and-mortars this season, technology can be a great help, from finding great prices to gift ideas. Apps can help us while we’re in the store, and our mobile phones may ring signaling that we’re paying too much! But the trends that make our shopping easier may take a backseat to those that signal the sign of these times: only the technologies that offer the very best value will be the hot commodities as the economy continues to stumble along.