How will technology affect our spending habits this holiday season?

Though many people will be doing all their holiday shopping via the Internet, a lot more will be braving the crowds to get those early bargains—and many of them will be carrying their mobile devices. Everyone with a smartphone or tablet are able to use certain apps to make their holiday shopping a better experience. These apps vary wildly from offering great gift ideas to scanning in-store barcodes to compare prices. Here, then, are just a few of the many ways technology will influence how we shop this holiday season.

Mobile Apps

An interesting trend this holiday season is appearing in mobile apps for both smartphones and tablets. These apps are specifically designed to make your in-store shopping experience as easy as possible. One app specifically allows you to scan a barcode with your smartphone and it will compare that products price to other stores and online retailers. Another app even lets you take a picture of the product, and it will likewise compare prices and availability. Still another allows you to skip the directory and locate the exact aisle placement of that prized gift.

Smartphone Marketing

One major trend this season is in the strategies taken by marketers to catch us even when we’re not tied to our computers. Smartphone marketing could have a big effect on purchasing, as online retailers hope to strategically time their messages to effectively ambush customers while standing in line. One such marketer, for example, is providing mobile-only deals at 6am, which can sway the would-be shopper from waiting in the cold altogether.

Economical Technology Trends

Not only will we be using technology to make our shopping lives simpler, but we will also be on the lookout for the next big improvement. The trend in technology 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. Rightly so: the consumer is cautious about the economy, will most likely spend less this year, and will be looking for both bargains and value.

Of course not all of us will be camped out in front of our computers making our holiday purchases this year. Many will have their smartphones and tablets at the ready to do battle against shop and shopper alike. But as technology gives us greater freedom as consumers to purchase wisely, we must also acknowledge the way the tech itself is in that continuous battle for our money. And, in this economy, the machines, gadgets and gizmos that offer the most value, will be the ones to beat.

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