Every year the holiday shopping season seems to start earlier than the year before. New data from a survey conducted by advertising, promotional, brand protection and pricing intelligence solutions firm Market Track reveals that, once again, shoppers will be getting a head start on their 2015 holiday shopping.
In a nationwide survey of 1,000 consumers, 83% of shoppers said they plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday or earlier. Thanksgiving discounting by retailers is training consumers to shop earlier: Market Track found that this year, 41% of shoppers surveyed plan to shop online on Thanksgiving vs. 11.1% that did so last year, while 36% intend to shop in-store on Thanksgiving this year vs. 23% last year.
The survey also predicts that Black Friday will be the dominant day for in-store shopping, with 53% of shoppers reporting that they will shop in-store vs. 29% in 2014. Further, Cyber Monday is predicted to win the online shopper with 69% of shoppers reporting that they will shop online that day this season.
“This holiday shopping season, shoppers will have more options to shop where and how they want than ever before and they won’t be forced to fight the crowds in-store during a single-day event to get the best deals,” said Traci Gregorski, vice president of marketing at Market Track, in a news release. “The gap will close on price differences offered online and in-store, and there will be a move toward retailer messaging that emphasizes making things easy for the shopper such as buy online, pick-up in-store, free shipping on out of stock merchandise, and faster delivery for online orders.”
The survey results indicate that shoppers will be on the hunt for deals everywhere: 74% of shoppers will turn to print circulars to find deals this holiday, 56% will browse retail websites, 51% will catch sales in TV advertisements and 44% will refer to email promotions that hit their inbox. Additionally, 85% of all shoppers are expected to research prices online and then buy in-store, a figure that is up from 54% last year. Electronics, small appliances, and toys/games will be the most heavily compared products online.
Additionally, the survey revealed that 84% of shoppers plan to shop on Amazon, citing low prices as their reason for shopping at the e-retail giant, while 12% plan to shop at newcomer Jet.com this holiday.
Based on the survey, the researchers at Market Track predict the following trends will prevail in the 2015 holiday shopping season:
- Jumping the gun: Look for an increase in “Doorbusters,” “Best deals of the season” and “Don’t wait for Black Friday” messaging to take demand out of the market for hot holiday items starting as early as October.
- Dare to compare: The increased promotion of bundled and layered offers as well as owned and exclusive private label product lines will make it hard for consumers to do direct comparisons based on price and product features alone.
- Back to basics: Tried and true traditional push media, such as circulars, TV/radio advertising and email marketing, will continue to be primary tactics used heavily by retailers to draw shoppers to their stores, leveraged in combination with new media and in the moment advertising.
- Mobile and social’s impact becomes meaningful: A focus on enhanced user experience and ease of transacting in social and mobile will increase sales results, in addition to continuing to play a large role in terms of influence on transactions.
Driving traffic through the experience: Retailers will focus on creating events and experiences to drive in-store traffic, such as Toys R Us creating a play experience where kids can play with the hot holiday toys in-store. Retailers will also differentiate from online shopping by stressing the “try before you buy” concept, and will create excitement through in-store events such as drawings, sweepstakes, and chances to win prizes and gift cards.
Market Track conducted a survey of 1,000 shoppers. Shoppers were asked about their own holiday shopping behaviors. Survey respondents represented even distribution across gender and representative sampling across age groups.
Source: Market Track; edited by Richard Carufel