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Insights on retailer, consumer intentions for Holiday 2014

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It’s shaping up to be an omnichannel holiday season: According to the latest Shop.org eHoliday 2014 Pre-Holiday Retailer and Consumer Study conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than half of U.S. consumers plan to make at least some of their holiday purchases online this year. The study also shows that confidence in the economy is gradually improving, and two out of five consumers are starting their holiday shopping in October (or started earlier) to spread out their budgets, capitalize on promotions and avoid late-season crowds. 

Online shoppers plan to spend 16 percent more this holiday season than all other shoppers for merchandise including gifts, decorations, greeting cards and food. All told, online shoppers expect to spend an average of $931.75. And mobile continues to grow with a reputation as the digital channel of choice.

Consumers anticipate using their smartphones and tablets to make holiday purchase decisions, primarily to research products — 42 percent via smartphone and 53 percent on tablet. Another one-third will turn to their smartphone or tablet to look up retailer information like store hours and location, among other shopping activities. Retailers are targeting these shoppers by investing in mobile email optimization as well as smartphone paid campaigns and mobile display ad campaigns.

Well-executed online marketing will be key to a successful holiday season. One-third of retailers surveyed plan to start their online marketing and promotions during the first week of November, compared to one-quarter last year. Top promotions they plan to most heavily emphasize include percent-off coupons, free standard shipping with conditions and online-only sales, among others.

Retailers will be using paid search, organic search and retargeting ads, among other channels, to get the message out. Social media, too, will be part of the mix: Three out of 10 retailers will use Facebook heavily, as well as visually enticing channels like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

To benchmark and fine-tune their holiday season plans, Shop.org and NRF members can download the full study here.

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