Online research and exclusive deals highlight this year's shopping season

Americans can be expected to employ their mobile devices while shopping this holiday season.

Americans can be expected to employ their mobile devices while shopping this holiday season. Especially over the past few years, online resources have allowed consumers to make increasingly informed positions - not merely in the retail sector, but in banking, services, automotive and other sectors as well.

According to a recent survey by market research firm Shopper Sciences, 42 percent of shoppers plan to spend more time doing online research before making a gift purchase this year. It also found more than one-third of consumers are connected to or following a retail brand.

Survey respondents also cited the prospect of earning exclusive deals as the No. 1 reason why they connect with a brand through social networking.

Retailers should keep this in mind for their social media strategies, as consumers may expect such rewards even more during the holidays.

"This is shaping up to be a no holds barred, digitally-empowered shopping season," said John Ross, CEO of Shopper Sciences. "Retailers will need to harness every strategy possible to connect and convert this new media-savvy shopper who is comfortable using mobile, social and digital means to get the best deal."