The holiday shopping season is almost upon us. Really. Will you be ready in all of the moments that matter? Here are five trends to keep your eyes on.
<p>Last year, holiday shopping started early (like, Halloween early). Given the holiday creep, will you be ready for the moments that matter-when they still matter? To help you prepare, we looked at Google data and research from the 2014 holiday season. Here's our list of trends to watch. Be sure to check it twice.</p> <p>The most connected holiday shopping season-ever.</p> <p>Shoppers reported spending more time researching and purchasing online than they did in years past.</p> <p>78% use the internet for holiday research last year.</p> <p>29% relied on friends, relatives, or colleagues (down from 2013).</p> <p>40% of holiday shopping occurred online.</p> <p>Big money was spent through small screens.</p> <p>People searched and purchased on their smartphones in many I-want-to-buy moments throughout the day and night.</p> <p>Last year, nearly $1 trillion-28%-of all retail sales were influenced by shopping-related mobile searches.</p> <p>53% of those who shopped online used smartphones or tablets, up from 41% the previous year.</p> <p>Holiday shopping began long before Black Friday</p> <p>Rather than wait for a single sale day, people started shopping before Halloween, and nearly half did most of their shopping on or prior to Cyber Monday.</p> <p>48% of holiday shoppers said they did the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday, up from 40% in 2013.</p> <p>1/4 said they had dome some holiday shopping before Halloween.</p> <p>Brand loyalties were up for grabs.</p> <p>Consumers were open to change, often looking to new stores and brands for their holiday purchases.</p> <p>Over 1/2 of respondents were open to buying from a new retailer.</p> <p>41% actually purchased from a new retailer, up significantly from 2013.</p> <p>Holiday shoppers turned to YouTube videos.</p> <p>Peers were the biggest influencers in video. Their reviews held more sway than those from experts.</p> <p>Of people who watched online videos to help with holiday:</p> <p>80% watched product reviews and ratings</p> <p>68% preferred product videos from "people like me."</p> <p>45% preferred videos from experts.</p>