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Holiday Shopping Guide: Consumers Go Mobile and Go for Deals, Gilt’s Lyne Says

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Just 13 days until Christmas and nine days until Hanukkah. But who's counting?

This week tends to be one of the busiest for online retailers as consumers place their orders before the cutoff for guaranteed holiday arrival expires. To drum up business and drive people to the web, eBay back in 2007 coined the first Monday in the second week of December as "Green Monday" - another catchy, but industry invented term (e.g. "Cyber Monday" and "Black Friday").

According to the latest comScore data, consumers have spent nearly $6 billion online since Thanksgiving, a 15% jump from the same period a year ago. Retailers are luring individuals to shop online with free shipping deals and Dec. 16 has been designated as "Free Shipping Day" - another marketing ploy to increase online traffic and pull business away from brick-and-mortar stores. Free shipping is always a good reason to peruse online retail sites, but the convenience of buying online has drastically increased with the option of making purchases with mobile phones and tablets.

Gilt Groupe's Chairman Susan Lyne tells Aaron in the attached clip that a third of Gilt's Black Friday sales were processed through mobile devices - an unprecedented trend for the four-year-old, high-end "flash sale" online retailer.

"The number one thing we're seeing is so much more sales coming from mobile," Lyne says. "It's just amazing. In a year that has become a very powerful platform."

It's not just cashmere sweaters and holiday chocolates that people are eagerly purchasing via mobile devices. Lyne says she's surprised by how many jewelry sales the company has processed from mobile - with some items costing thousands of dollars - all with a simple click on a phone. This online phenomenon proves "more and more people are thinking about their phones in a very different way," says Lyne.

Two of every five smartphone owners have used a mobile device to make a purchase, according to a September report by comScore. With more than 90 million smartphone/mobile users in the U.S., retailers would be remiss not to accommodate mobile users and create mobile-friendly sites. The final numbers are still being tallied, but it's safe to assume mobile is at the vanguard of how retailers and consumers will shop for years to come.

Are you making purchases on your mobile phone? Let us know!

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