So much of the news reported around the holidays is centered on sales performance data, so we decided to take a look at how consumers view the holiday shopping season. We surveyed 100 US-based shoppers to gain a better understanding of their shopping timeline and preferences. Here’s a look at what we found after the big Thanksgiving weekend.
Forty-two percent of respondents have started their holiday shopping, up 70% over last week. What’s more interesting is that 19% of respondents reported they will not shop for the holidays, which may also contribute to the 11% decline in spend we saw over the weekend.
Even with the hyped Thanksgiving shopping weekend behind us, only 4% of respondents said they have completed their checklists. This indicates there is still a huge opportunity for retailers to capture more sales ahead of Christmas. We’re likely to see new record sales days emerge as consumers rush to fulfill their shopping lists ahead of shipping deadlines.
We wanted to know if consumers will be completing their shopping earlier this year. Ahead of the holiday weekend, nearly 40% of respondents said they would have their shopping lists completed by the second week of December, or the 14th. After the busy holiday weekend, we saw that date shift to December 20th. Retailers should be prepared for a late-season uptick in sales.
We’ve seen online shopping grow year over year as brick-and-mortar store sales either decline or remain flat. Our survey respondents reported they will use a mix of channels—both online and stores—to fulfill their shopping lists this year. It’s important for retailers to use online ads to guide shoppers into stores. At Adlucent, we’ve seen the impact of digital ads can be 4X higher offline than online.
In addition to channels, it’s important for retailers to pay special attention to device usage during the peak shopping season. More and more consumers are using multiple devices to research and purchase products. Thirty-eight percent of survey respondents said they will make a purchase on a smartphone while thirty-five percent will complete a purchase on a tablet. The majority of retailers should consider increasing device ad spend as we know they play a critical role in cross-channel sales. At Adlucent, we use advanced data sets to understand how various audiences use devices while shopping. We can then use look-alike modeling to find similar customers and increase bids to acquire them.
Prior to the holiday weekend, an even number of respondents reported that they start their product research on a search engine or on Amazon.com. Post-holiday, we saw a decline in search engines and a steep up-tick in shopping in stores. A small percentage of respondents stated they go directly to a retailer or manufacturer website. Many consumers use Amazon.com to read reviews, compare pricing, and leverage expedited shipping. To remain competitive, retailers must make it easy for online shoppers to find the products they are searching for both online and in nearby stores, be price competitive, and provide affordable shipping options and easy returns.
We’ll continue to run this survey weekly through the holidays so stay tuned for new developments.
About the data: Source: Google
- Respondents 
- Geography [United States]
- Online access
- Gender [41% – female, 46% – male, 13% – unknown]
- Age [13% – 18-24 years old, 15% – 25-34 years old, 13% – 35-44 years old, 17% – 45-54 years old, 16% – 55-64 years old, 9% 65+ older, 17% unreported]
- Household income [15% – $24,999 or below, 52% – $25,000-$49,999, 21% – $50,000-$74,999, 5% – $100,000-$149,999, 7% unreported]