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NerdWallet’s 2012 Year in Review – Shopping Edition

Dec. 6, 2012
Holiday Tips & News
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Missed out on some of the top stories of the year? NerdWallet recaps the biggest news from the retail industry that affected the lives of shoppers and sellers alike.

Mobile Technology Merging Online and Offline Shopping

Online shopping continues to grow as consumers are increasingly comfortable making purchases on smartphones and tablets. This poses unique challenges for brick-and-mortar retailers, who suffer from “showrooming,” but these stores are fighting back by bringing more technology into retail locations and ramping up unique in-store services. The gap between the in-store experience and Web shopping is closing.

Web Companies Get Serious About Retail

As online shopping booms, there’s more opportunity for new players to get into the game and for old hands to expand their roles. Google’s revamped Google Shopping changed what product search looks like, and Bing Shopping was quick to criticize.

Facebook, as well, launched Facebook Gifts and figures to expand its e-commerce role even further with Facebook Collections.

New Coupon Innovations Catching On … Slowly

While the recession brought on the rebirth of the coupon, 2012 brought on the coupon’s reinvention.

There’s a whole industry popping up around card-linked offers, which are mobile coupons loaded straight onto a consumer’s debit, credit or store loyalty card. Apple’s Passbook, too, brought coupons into the future with mobile.

Shoppers have been slow to transition off the paper coupon, though, despite heavy marketing campaigns for technologies such as BankAmeriDeals. This story is one to bookmark for 2013.

Black Friday Branches Out to Thanksgiving and Goes Online

The biggest story of the biggest shopping holiday was how Walmart, Sears, Target and other major retailers opened their doors to the Black Friday masses on Thanksgiving evening. Rather than waiting for the calendar to flip to Friday, retailers bumped up their doorbusters to capture more sales. Retailers also put more and more sales online to cater to the convenience of couch shopping. 

Small Businesses and Independent Retailers Steal Some of the Spotlight

Discount department stores got the headlines during the recession years, but small businesses and indie merchants made some good gains in 2012.

American consumers who were familiar with Small Business Saturday spent $5.5 billion on the weekend day, and Etsy, the wildly popular online handmade marketplace, continued to post impressive numbers, selling a record $81.9 million of goods in October. More sellers made sales on Etsy on Cyber Monday than on any other day during Etsy’s seven-year history.


Other 2012 Year in Review Resources:

Tablet countdown image from Shutterstock