In light of last week’s announcement of PayPal’s imminent acquisition of browser extension tool Honey, new research has found that sales via browser platforms have increased by 349% year-on-year.

According to a study from CJ Affiliate, smart shopping and browser tools will be the retail winners this Christmas, with consumers drawn to the likes of Honey, Piggy and Nectar for their Christmas shopping. Findings also show that shopping guides and top product lists have seen gains of 117% year-on-year.

“70% of consumers wish that it was easier to buy online, especially during frenetic periods like Christmas,” said Jules Bazley, regional vice president, Europe at CJ Affiliate; “It’s clear that retailers helping their customers to make decisions intelligently, buy the best products for them or their loved ones, and provide smart shopping tools, will really reap the rewards.”

Browser tools like Honey will automatically check the web for better deals, as well as searching out discount codes and offering cashback or credit when consumers buy from certain stores. Many of these tools exist as browser extensions, whilst others use their own mobile apps.

However, this trend goes beyond providing intelligent software and creating content. 37% of 18-29-year-olds now consult the web before making a purchase and 30% of all holiday gifting during 2018 was done on mobile phones. This means that unless retailers provide a mobile-first, search-friendly environment where consumers can shop easily, then they risk losing clicks to simpler, more user-friendly competitors.

“It’s an absolutely critical time for retailers now, especially in certain categories,” added Bazley; “Online clothing and apparel sales were up 37% during last year’s holiday season, so fashion sites should pay particular attention. Black Friday may represent a spike of holiday shopping, but the first three weeks of December as a whole are very significant for online retailers, so now is the time to act.”