According to NRF's recent holiday forecast, experts predict that holiday sales in November and December of 2013 will likely increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, demonstrating greater sales potential than the 10-year average holiday sales growth of 3.3 percent. Yet, with this possibility for progress in an economically unstable environment, brands and retailers must remain on top of the latest shopping trends in order to boost engagement and improve customer satisfaction via the channels consumers use most.
Burst Media's "Spending Season 2013: Preferences, Intentions and Devices of Holiday Shoppers" report explores precisely how and when consumers plan to shop during the 2013 holiday season. The study, which surveyed 993 U.S. online adults aged 18 or over, examines their projected actions and current habits to establish an overall estimate of where retailers should focus their attention. This season, in particular, comes with its own unique difficulties, for Hanukkah starts before Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday falls in December, meaning sales strategies must be forthright and relevant if retailers hope to capture shoppers interest.
The following statistics depict the current state of the holiday shopping environment and what retailers can expect to see in the coming weeks:
- While 39 percent of respondents plan to start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, 44 percent will start after Thanksgiving, and 17 percent will start at the last minute.
- Sixty-six percent of shoppers expect to spend more or the same amount of money on holiday gifts as they did during the 2012 season, while 22 percent expect to spend less.
- Men (22 percent) will likely spend more than women (15 percent) this holiday season, though mothers of minor children (26 percent) are expected to spend the most money.
- Ninety-two percent of holiday shoppers will shop online in some capacity this year, whether to research gifts or make purchases, for both men (25 percent) and women (26 percent) enjoy the relaxed experience of shopping via PC or mobile phone.
- Both men (60 percent) and women (53 percent) will use their laptop as their primary tool for online holiday shopping this year. However, while fathers will also conduct most of their shopping via laptop (60 percent), mothers plan to use both their desktop computer (45 percent) and smartphone (45 percent) to make their purchases.
- Forty-six percent of respondents plan to use their smartphone while shopping this holiday season, a 51 percent increase from 2012, while 41 percent expect to use their tablet, up 190 percent from last year.
- While 40 percent of shoppers expect to use their mobile device while inside a physical store, most plan to do so to research and compare prices at different stores (56 percent) or read reviews (44 percent).
Key takeaway: With the average consumers' shopping habits evolving year-round, it's logical to assume that these behaviors would ultimately apply to the holiday season, as well. For instance, four out of five mobile users say they use shopping apps, such as Amazon, eBay, and Zappos, to browse or make purchases during the holiday season, with both men (42 percent) and women (55 percent) using such tools somewhat frequently. Mobile devices have become an integral part of how consumers interact with their favorite brands, for they are easily accessible at home or on the go. Smartphones and tablets will continue to play an increasingly essential role in the retail space, so companies must begin to create and implement cross-channel campaigns that engage consumers no matter which platform they choose.