This holiday season customers are dodging crowds and skipping long store lines by shopping on their mobile devices. “2013 really is the year of the mobile,” says Pat Dermody, president of the U.S. operations of weekly ads and deals app Retale, in an article on MercuryNews.com. Rather than dealing with disgruntled customers and congested stores, holiday shoppers can cozy up with their iPad Air or Android to make purchases at home directly from the couch. Mobile gadgets are this year’s holiday shopping companions, and going mobile for the holiday shopping experience even has been coined “couch commerce.”
Since the advent of Cyber Monday in 2005 and other new digital age terms like webrooming (window shopping online and purchasing items in store), our gadget dependence skyrockets around this time of year. Not only are purchases made on devices, but smartphones and tablets also provide store coupons, special promotions, price comparisons and apps to enhance the consumer shopping experience.
An estimated 68 percent of holiday shoppers will shop using their smartphones, according toDeloitte’s 28th annual survey on holiday spending and trends. The survey also indicates that among the 38 percent of respondents who own tablets, 63 percent of this group will turn to their tablets for holiday shopping or online browsing. Using smartphones and tablets as shopping tools connects customers with leading retail brands and even locally-owned small businesses. In fact, the Deloitte holiday survey reveals that 66 percent of participants will shop locally at independent chains or boutiques.
Safe Mobile Shopping
Although mobile shopping is convenient, online commerce and electronic payments come with risk. Without proper safeguards, personal information is vulnerable to virtual identity thieves and scammers. Security Watch on PCMag.com ensures mobile holiday shopping is the safest online holiday shopping.
- Major retailers, such as Amazon and Target, have their own dedicated mobile apps. Dedicated mobile apps are less vulnerable to hackers (and more trusted) because apps need a dedicated attack, whereas general browser attacks target websites.
- Mobile apps have a limited level of access compared to PC applications, Security Watch explains. Mobile apps have only what they need and users can set permissions. Users have safer options and more control while combating malware infections.
- Apple and Google provide high levels of oversight over their mobile app stores and safer apps as a result. Software is traceable and potential threats can be identified and eliminated.
Holiday Shopping Tips
Many shoppers are browsing online closer to home this holiday season and then venturing to stores on a mission. If you’re relying on your tablet for price comparisons, reviews and discounts, and then making in-store purchases, you face a whole new set of security risks.LifeLock offers these safe shopping tips on its Facebook page:
- Keep social security numbers and checkbooks at home.
- Carry no more than two credit cards; credit cards have more protection than debit cards because funds are directly withdrawn and you have more time to report an unauthorized transaction.
- Watch for shoulder surfing, which is when thieves stealthily take pictures of credit cards and transactions to obtain your information.
- Be aware of skimming thieves who use electronic devices to collect credit card information by placing the skimmer right over an ATM.