The term Black Friday used to mean the start of the holiday buying season, but for many consumers the holiday shopping season seems to be a year-round event. The shift has affected how many businesses do business and how they conduct promotions, but one thing hasn’t changed — the American consumer using their debit and credit cards as their preferred method of payment!

In fact, the experts at Transaction Trends, the official publication of the Electronic Transactions Association, say that 83% of Americans name those two types of cards as their preferred method of payments for the holidays. According to reports from the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer will spend $805 this holiday season, up slightly from last year. The 10-year average of holiday sales has increased 2.5 percent, with the NRF predicting an increase of 3.7 percent for 2015.

With transactions on the upswing, thoughts turn to data protection and how consumers feel about it. A recent survey revealed 81 percent felt concerned about shopping where a data breach occurred, but more than half of those consumers would not avoid those businesses because of previous issues.

With this being the first holiday season after the EMV liability shift, the way many merchants conduct transactions will change forever. Merchants should have their staff prepared to answer questions and possibly assist customers who may have never been involved in an EMV transaction before.

Another shift in 2015 is the number of consumers who will do all of their shopping online. Two-in-five (41 percent) shoppers say they will do all, or most of their purchases online, an increase of five percent over 2014 numbers.

More than 58 percent of holiday shoppers say they’ll use their “smart device” to shop for holiday gifts this year — an increase of nine percent year-to-year. The same survey states 27 percent of people using their devices will end up making purchases. Not surprisingly, younger consumers (18-44) are planning to use their smartphone at the point-of-sale vs. those 45 older by a nearly two-to-one margin, 64 percent to 36 percent.

As a business owner, you know numbers and projections are fluid and seem to change by the day — but all indications are that the 2015 holiday season will be a profitable one, both on- and off-line. Happy Holidays and happy selling!

Contact NAB today and see how easy it is to get the merchant services you deserve.

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