It’s still a few weeks before the holiday shopping season is in full swing, but several new reports are shedding light on what retailers can expect in 2013. According to theNational Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, shoppers are expected to spend 3.9% more this year compared to last, totaling $602.1 billion in holiday sales. That’s a good start, but there are a few shifts taking place this holiday season that retailers need to be prepared for.
When looking to reach these mobile consumers, e-mail marketing firm, Movable Ink, conducted a study to see which platform was used by the most responsive consumers. When it comes to smartphones open rates the iPhone ruled, representing 35.8% of total e-mails opened. Users of Android smartphones opened just 9.4% of their marketing e-mails. However, Android users did volunteer more time per message, with 53% spending 15 seconds or more per message versus 41% of iPhone users. Google, having its hand in just about everything, has their own 2013 Holiday Shopping Intentions Study. Their study mimics Deloitte’s bullishness on mobile, citing a 17% increase in smartphone usage for holiday shopping this year compared to last. Perhaps more interesting is that 25% of smartphone owners surveyed indicated they plan to make a purchase from their device this holiday season, up 21% from 2012. The challenge for retailers is figuring out how they can get consumers comfortable enough to make the purchase, as 84% will start researching products on one device and make the purchase from another.
Habits: As you read this, the race for the holiday dollar has already begun. Fortunately for you, most shoppers won’t close their wallets until well into December. According to the Google study, 41% of shoppers will keep at it until mid-December, 24% will be hustling around until the “last minute,” and 8% will not complete their holiday shopping until after Christmas Day. If you’re looking to get a jump on things, know that gender matters. Women are more likely to begin shopping early compared to men (64% versus 56%). Now understanding what drives shoppers to your store is the next step. For a majority of shoppers (81%) discounts still rule, whereas 76% will look for free shipping, and 60% will act on purchase incentives.
If you were wondering how smartphones are being used to change shopping habits, heres a quick breakdown according to Deloitte:
- 56% Get store locations
- 54% Check/compare prices
- 47% Get product information
- 45% Shop/browse online
- 44% Read reviews
- 40% Check product availability in a store or website
- 36% Get/use discounts, coupons, sales information
- 32% Scan product barcodes to find more product information
- 31% Make a purchase online
- 29% Access social networks
- 24% Get text messages or exclusive deals from retailers
Let’s not forget that internet sales also include the use of desktops, and for the first time in the the 15-year history of the Deloitte survey (and it’s safe this would hold true before then), more shoppers will flock to the internet over any other shopping venue. Many might think that’s because consumers can find items cheaper online, when in fact 76% cite convenience as their main reason for shopping online compared to 63% who said price. Fear not local brick and mortar retailer, not everyone wants to go digital.
Location: Local stores will make up one third of consumers’ total holiday budget, according to Deloitte, with 66% of consumers shopping at small, independent retailers. The good news for new companies is that 63% of consumers do not have specific brands in mind and 59% are open to purchasing from new retailers, according to the Google study. One easy marketing tactic would be to embrace the Small Business Saturdaymovement launched in 2010 by American Express. This day has since been recognized by the U.S. Senate and is now promoted every year on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.