Many U.S. Shoppers Plan on Completing Holiday Shopping Before November
Gone are the days where shoppers would anxiously wait for the big Black Friday circular unveiling—they now have access to the Black Friday sales well in advance of the event. New survey data from advertising, promotional, brand protection and pricing intelligence solutions firm Market Track suggests that by the time the last slice of pumpkin pie gets consumed this upcoming Thanksgiving, nearly half of U.S. shoppers will already have completed the majority of their holiday purchases.
In a nationwide survey of 1,000 consumers, 27% of the respondents stated that they plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping before the calendar hits November—a stat that is up eight percentage points from 2015. Competitive pricing throughout the season combined with fabricated shopping events have trained consumers to shop earlier, with a total of 49% planning to do the majority of their holiday shopping before the big feast.
“Beating other retailers to the punch by taking demand out of the market early is nothing new,” said Traci Gregorski, senior vice president of marketing at Market Track, in a news release. “Look for early digital sales to kick off the season in earnest with compelling deals in October to entice consumers to shop early. In addition, there will be heightened competition for online shoppers with significant online discounting extending to the Saturday before Christmas. Last year we saw discounts on many hot holiday items at 40% below the Black Friday sale price toward the end of the season.”
For shoppers who are planning to wait until after the big turkey dinner, 52% intend to shop online on Black Friday, while 61% said they would wait until Cyber Monday to shop for the holidays. Respondents also cited overwhelmingly that e-retail giant Amazon will be their top online shopping destination and where they plan to allocate a majority of their online budget for holiday this year.
The implications of online commerce extend far beyond the transaction data—the survey indicates that digital interactions influence 66% of shoppers on their in-store purchases. Regardless of when consumers are shopping, the survey indicates that 73% of shoppers plan on researching prices online ahead of shopping in-store this season.
Based on the survey, the researchers at Market Track predict the following trends to watch for this 2016 holiday shopping season:
Mobile’s impact throughout the purchase journey: Mobile’s influence cannot be downplayed—mobile enables consumers to interact from the planning stage to the trip, while they are in the moment, and post-purchase. Whether it is through price or stock status research, SMS offers or app-specific sales and alerts, or people using their mobile phones to transact, mobile will play a significant role in influencing decisions throughout the purchase journey.
Strategically complicated offers: To make it challenging to do straight price comparisons across retailers, look for product and service bundles in addition to specialty products with limited availability.
Differentiation through experience/service: Driving traffic in-store is still imperative to profitability due to the propensity of shoppers to add additional items to their cart as they walk through the store—the online shopping experience is much more linear, with less opportunity for add-on items. In order to drive traffic in-store this season, retailers will host events and will do more promotion around service and expertise to lure shoppers in.
Competitive pricing throughout the season: Retailers are being forced to discount throughout the duration of the season on all categories, but especially on those that are highly researched and purchased online like toys, electronics, wearables, and TVs.
Direct to consumer: More manufacturers are initiating a relationship with the online shopper—many are commerce-enabled and actively looking to sell directly to consumers.
Market Track conducted a survey of 1,000 shoppers in August 2016. Shoppers were asked about their own holiday shopping behaviors. Survey respondents represented even distribution across gender and representative sampling across age groups.
Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel