Chicago, IL—New survey data from Market Track, LLC, indicates that the days when consumers would wait for the big Black Friday circular before shopping are now gone. This is due to the fact they now have access to Black Friday sales well in advance of the event.
The nationwide survey suggests that by Thanksgiving Day, 49% of U.S. shoppers will have completed many of their holiday purchases. In the survey of 1,000 consumers, 27% of the respondents stated they plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping before the calendar hits November. This represents an eight-percentage point increase in this trend from 2015.
Market Track believes that competitive pricing throughout the season combined with fabricated shopping events have trained consumers to shop earlier.
“Beating other retailers to the punch by taking demand out of the market early is nothing new,” explained Traci Gregorski, senior vice president of Marketing at Market Track. “Look for early digital sales to kick off the season in earnest with compelling deals in October to entice consumers to shop early.
“In addition, there will be heightened competition for online shoppers with significant online discounting extending to the Saturday before Christmas. Last year we saw discounts on many hot holiday items at 40% below the Black Friday sale price toward the end of the season.”
For consumers planning to wait until after Thanksgiving, the survey found that 52% intend to shop online on Black Friday. And 61% said they would wait until Cyber Monday to shop for the holidays. Respondents also cited overwhelmingly that Amazon would be their top online shopping destination this holiday season.
Also of importance to retailers, the survey denotes that digital interactions influence 66% of shoppers on their in-store purchases. Regardless of when consumers do their holiday shopping this year, 73% plan on researching prices online ahead of shopping in-store.
2016 Holiday Shopping Trends
Based on their survey, researchers at Market Track predict the following trends to watch for during the 2016 holiday shopping season:
1. Mobile’s impact throughout the purchase journey. “Mobile’s influence cannot be downplayed—mobile enables consumers to interact from the planning stage to the trip, while they are in the moment, and post-purchase. Whether it is through price or stock status research, SMS offers or app-specific sales and alerts, or people using their mobile phones to transact, mobile will play a significant role in influencing decisions throughout the purchase journey.”
2. Strategically complicated offers. “To make it challenging to do straight price comparisons across retailers, look for product and service bundles in addition to specialty products with limited availability.”
3. Differentiation through experience/service. “Driving traffic in-store is still imperative to profitability due to the propensity of shoppers to add additional items to their cart as they walk through the store. The online shopping experience is much more linear, with less opportunity for add-on items. In order to drive traffic in-store this season, retailers will host events. They will also do more promotion around service and expertise to lure shoppers in.”
4. Competitive pricing throughout the season. “Retailers are being forced to discount throughout the duration of the season on all categories. But especially on those that are highly researched and purchased online, like toys, electronics, wearables and TVs.”
5. Direct to consumer. “More manufacturers are initiating a relationship with the online shopper. Many are commerce-enabled and actively looking to sell directly to consumers.”
Market Track’s Holiday Survey
Market Track is a provider of advertising, promotional, brand protection and pricing intelligence solutions in North America. Its holiday shopping survey was conducted with 1,000 shoppers in August 2016. Shoppers were asked about their own holiday shopping behaviors. Survey respondents represented even distribution across gender and a representative sampling across age groups. markettrack.com