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Facebook Says More People Will Shop on Mobile for Holiday 2016

Social media is a force to be reckoned with.

A study released Tuesday by Facebook IQ, titled “Decking the Digital Halls,” found that more and more people are using digital—mobile, in particular—to connect and shop during the holiday season.

Heard it all before? Consider this statistic: the share of online purchases in the U.S. that were made on mobile and visible to Facebook in Holiday 2015 increased 33 percent, compared to the prior year. And the social network predicts that trend will continue in the upcoming season.

Based on 2015 Facebook and Instagram data and a study of 20,000-plus adults commissioned by Ipsos, 80 percent of posts, photos and videos shared during the 2015 holiday season were on mobile. In fact, people posted 26 percent more content than other times of the year.

Despite the prevalence of “Christmas in July” shopping events, like last week’s Amazon Prime Day, most people will likely wait until the last minute to buy gifts. The study found that while 45 percent of people in August 2015 said they planned to do most of their holiday shopping before Black Friday, more than half (54 percent) of people surveyed in December 2015 said they actually did most of it that month—or later.

Self-gifting is on the rise, too. People who buy on mobile are 1.30 times more likely than the total surveyed population to treat themselves, while a high earner (in the top 25 percent income bracket for their market) is 1.36 times more likely than everyone else surveyed to do so. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they would buy holiday gifts for themselves.

Social media is increasingly a source of inspiration, with people who say they will buy on mobile 1.81 times more likely to use Facebook to research gifts. Instagram is even more of an influencer: mobile shoppers are 1.85 times more likely to tap the app for ideas. Compared to other surveyed generations, Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are 3.19 times more likely to use Instagram and 1.53 times more likely to use Facebook.

Though Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season) has gone global, with one in four people surveyed around the world spending that day, four countries lead the way: Brazil, the U.S., South Africa and South Korea.

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Facebook offered five pieces of advice to retailers for Holiday 2016:
• Celebrate visually by sharing eye-catching, thumb-stopping creative content.
• Offer last-minute deals and short shipping times.
• Encourage self-gifting with 2-for-1 deals.
• Use mobile to reach shoppers who are out and about.
• Capitalize on international interest during Black Friday to capture early shoppers with messaging and product offers.