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Pre-Holiday Study: Events Can Help Retailers in Amazonian Struggle

Where did 2016 go? It seems like just yesterday we were talking about Mother’s Day and now, here we are with a stocking stuffed full of Pre-Holiday Insights. For our Pre-Holiday Study, we surveyed nearly 3,000 holiday shoppers between October 16 and November 6, zeroing in on their budget and purchase intentions, their perceptions of online and in-store shopping experiences, and purchase influencers, and the results are in

Budgets, Shopping Lists, and Fido

First thing’s first—budgets are up for approximately 1/3 of respondents who intend to spend more this year than last, with younger millennials showing the greatest intended spending growth at 48%. That means that almost half of this generation’s respondents plan to increase their holiday budget this year. Such an uptick does not hold true among older generations however, as the older a shopper is, the less likely they are to increase their budget (only 25% of the Silent Generation harbors such plans).

Who are they spending these budgets on? The average respondent has just under nine names on their shopping list (8.8) where some unexpected “family members” may also appear. That’s because 34% of respondents indicated they would also be shopping for a family pet. Those shoppers with budgets of over $751 were considerably more likely to add a furry friend to their list, and just under half (44%) of shoppers with a budget over $1000 intended to do so. Retailers should perhaps consider an impulse display full of kitty collars, puppy pullovers, and other fetching accessories near checkout.

Holiday Kitten

Finding Your Place in Amazon’s World

As stores prepare for their yearly battle against e-commerce giants, there is some good news and some bad news.  The bad news: 79% of respondents are deterred from entering physical stores by crowds and holiday traffic; the good news: 46% can be drawn in by in-store events, particularly promotions and sales. While respondents might not be thrilled about the commuting, parking, and crowd-weaving shopping entails, discounts and other events can overcome this pain point.

Obviously many of these shoppers have abandoned brick and mortar for online shopping—54% of respondents indicated this would be the primary if not exclusive means of their holiday shopping—and they are increasingly using mobile devices to do it. Indeed, 6% more respondents indicated they would be using mobile as their primary shopping channel (from 15% in 2015 to 21% this year), and 11% more (29% vs. 18%) indicated they would be using a specific retailer app as opposed to a 3rd party app.

What do they intend to purchase across these channels? Unsurprisingly, fashion, electronics, and toys were the most popular gift categories once again this year, and were evenly distributed among age groups with two notable exceptions: Older millennials were far more likely to purchase toys than any other generation, and Silents were far less likely to purchase electronics.

But no matter the category, everything comes up Amazon—the e-commerce behemoth again placed in the top-three retailers for each.  As a top-three destination for fashion, electronics, and toys, Amazon is inching ever closer to truly becoming a one-stop shop among our respondents. Additionally, 67% of respondents indicated they planned to use a delivery service like Amazon Prime, with the vast majority (89%) citing convenience as the number one reason.

The Gift of Not Shopping

Holiday Shoppint Fatigue

And finally, there is something disproportionate going on with gift cards. While 72% of respondents plan to purchase gift cards this holiday season, only 55% actually want to receive them. While proponents cited gift cards’ flexibility, detractors felt they were too impersonal or not meaningful. Similarly, though subscription services like Blue Apron and Winc are increasingly popular, they have yet to become hot holiday gifts as only 7% of respondents intended to gift a subscription service.

How do online reviews, social media, and celebrity endorsements shape consumers’ perceptions of brands and retailers, and which holds the most sway among specific generations? How does a consumer’s age affect their likelihood to participate in extreme promotional events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Find answers to these and other questions by downloading the full report.

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