The holiday season is fast approaching and a new survey reveals insights into how shoppers will hunt for products and what trends retailers should be aware of in order to capitalize on the end of the year retail boom.
The study, commissioned by CPC Strategy and carried out by the independent research firm Survata, surveyed 1504 consumers to understand how they will shop in the fourth quarter of 2017, and specifically in regards to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
Holiday Sales Look Encouraging
The general takeaway from the study found that end of year sales looks promising for retailers as more and more millennials are coming of age and willing to spend significantly more money during the holidays.
Among 18-24 year-olds, 23 percent said their spending will increase. On top of this, 79 percent of Baby Boomers — the biggest spending cohort during the holidays — said they would spend roughly the same this year.
Overall, 88 percent of shoppers plan to spend the same or more this year on gifts, meaning the staggering $658.3 billion spent last year will most likely be matched and probably even surpassed.
As for individual spending on gifts, 62.1 percent said they will spend $500 or less, with 30 percent spending $250-499. Over 26 percent will spend $500-1000 and 11.2 percent will spend more than $1000.
Shoppers are evenly divided on when they will hit the stores, whether online or brick-and-mortar, in search for gifts. One-third will start holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, another third will start on Thanksgiving weekend and the following Cyber Monday, and the final third will begin their shopping in December.
Similar to last year, December 17, also known as Super Saturday, is again expected to be the biggest holiday shopping day.
Amazon Leads the Pack
What shouldn’t surprise anyone is Amazon’s continued dominance in the retail marketplace.
Of the respondents, 72.1 percent said they would search for gifts on Amazon compared to just 60 percent who said they will look for gifts in-store at big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. An even lower number, 38.6 percent, said they will browse these big box retailer’s online stores.
Women are much more likely to shop in-store at big box retailers (67%) while men were fine to do their holiday shopping online at Amazon (76%). Millennials heavily favored shopping online rather than in big box retailers.
And lastly, 46 percent of holiday shoppers will use specialty retailers who target their specific demographic to find gifts and products.
Low Prices Rule the Day
When asked what the main driving force is behind which brand or retailer a holiday shopper choices for purchasing gifts, the overall price was far and away the most important factor. The next highest was brand quality, at 16.2 percent.
As echoed in other studies, the youngest generation surveyed (18-24 year-olds), were far less price conscious, with 23 percent emphasizing brand quality and 10 percent valuing friend or family recommendations (both the highest of any age group).
The oldest generation in the study, 55-64, favored product selection as the second most important factor behind price.
In addition to low prices, the survey found that “fast and free shipping isn’t just optional — it’s now the baseline for retailers.”
Holiday shoppers also frequently used their phones to check prices while searching for products in-store — only 28 percent didn’t check the online cost. Of these price wary consumers, 32 percent checked a product’s price on Amazon before committing to a purchase, followed by Google (23%) and the retailer’s website (10.1%).