Summer is officially over. The shorts and flip-flops have been tucked away, and football season is already in full swing. For retailers, that means only one thing: it’s time again to start planning for the holiday shopping season. One very crucial aspect of planning a retail marketing strategy is examining consumer behavior and how it has changed over the course of the past year. This year, the way consumers are using mobile phones and tablets for local search and to make in-store and online purchases is at the top of the list. The Google Retail Advertising Blog recently offered some interesting insights on the subject:

• Google projects 15% of this year’s Black Friday searches will originate from mobile devices

• Mobile devices are commonly used to find last-minute gifts and to locate the stores where they can be purchased. Google predicts 44% of searches for last-minute gifts and store locator terms will originate from mobile devices this year

• The past two years saw a “double peak” in retail brand search volumes, the first around Black Friday and the second the week before Christmas when mobile users searched for last-minute brick and mortar shopping

• The numbers show these mobile searches result in in-store purchases: 65% of high end device owners say they’ve searched for a business using their device, then went on to later make a purchase at that store’s physical location

• According to Ebay, tablet users spend 50% more than PC users, have higher or equivalent conversion rates and have higher AOV, so retailers should take care to prepare for this audience

• According to a Google survey, more than 33% of smartphone and tablet users plan to start their holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving this year, so marketers should plan accordingly to catch this audience while they’re in the market to buy

This is yet another example of how a strong mobile marketing strategy can help retailers reach relevant shoppers, especially when local search trends are taken into account.