Steadily improving sentiment about the economy is expected to cause an increase consumer spending this holiday season, according to new research from Deloitte Consulting LLP.
The Deloitte 2012 Holiday Surveyrevealed that 63% of consumers are planning to “spend more or the same” on gifts this year, versus 59% in 2011. Results were accumulated via an online survey of 5,089 consumers between September 14 and September 24, 2012.
The survey indicated that omnichannel shoppers are expected to be the most profitable for retailers this holiday season, with each consumer spending approximately $600 in stores, online and through mobile devices. Conversely, brick-and-mortar shoppers are predicted to spend only $350 on gifts. This statistic confirms the increased need for merchants to connect with omnichannel shoppers, because “overall they are more valuable to retailers worldwide,” Belinda McConnell, Principal Deloitte Consulting, said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
Altering Shopping Strategies To Save Money
While consumer sentiment on spending is improving, one key factor is changing, McConnell reported: Consumers are altering their browsing and buying strategies across channels in an effort to save more money on gifts.
“Approximately two-thirds of respondents said they’re going to change how they shop and spend money this holiday season,” McConnell said. “In fact, consumers will be using their digital devices — smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets — to help enable these savings. Our research findings show how technology truly is shaping consumer behaviors and what retailers need to implement to get that share of wallet.”
Survey respondents said they plan to use the following strategies to be thriftier this holiday season:
Purchase from retailers who offer free shipping (71%);
Only buy sale items while holiday shopping (44%);
Shop later in the season to get the best deals (32%);
Shop earlier in the season to get better prices (29%); and
Use layaway (14%).
Gifts consumers plan to buy for friends and family include clothing (51%), gift cards/certificates (47%), electronics (35%), and books (34%), while some prefer to just give money (23%).
Consumers To Replace Traditional Media With Mobile And Social Networks
Most consumers typically rely on traditional media, such as TVs, newspapers and radios, to receive information about new product releases and sales. However, the impact of these channels slowly is declining, according to the Deloitte Holiday Survey.
Overall, more consumers (67%) intend to learn more about potential purchases through digital channels (web, social media and mobile devices) than traditional means, such as TV, magazines, newspapers and radio (60%).
Smartphones will be top shopping tools for consumers this holiday season, as 70% of respondents predict their devices will play a key role in shopping strategies and purchase decision-making.
“Mobile will impact many more purchases, both in-store and online,” McConnell said. “Looking at how people are using their mobile phones throughout the browsing and buying experience, it’s evident that the winning retailers are the ones striving to create a robust omnichannel strategy that is cohesive and personalized.”
Top ways shoppers plan to use their mobile devices include:
Find store locations (62%);
Check/compare prices (58%);
Obtain product information (50%);
Shop/browse online (45%);
Read reviews (44%);
Check product availability (42%);
Get/use discounts, coupons and sale information (39%); and
Scan product barcodes to receive more information (38%).
While price researching and comparison are top tactics among mobile-toting consumers, McConnell reaffirmed that retailers should not fear the impacts of “showrooming” this holiday season, but embrace mobile to provide richer brand experiences. “Retailers should use mobile to create a more helpful experience and provide transparency to consumers,” she added. “This openness will improve sentiment among consumers, thus creating true loyalty to retailers.”
Approximately half (48%) of respondents said they plan to use social media for holiday shopping, the study revealed. These consumers will use sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to:
Find discounts (54%);
Research gift ideas (53%);
Read reviews (47%);
Check for gifts friends and family want (43%); and
Browse inventory (41%).
“Most studies have indicated that social media predominantly is used by Millennials, as well as Generation X and Y consumers,” McConnell reported. “However, the gap is closing and older consumers are using social media to find discounts and deals more frequently. As a result, more retailers are using this channel to incent customers to share information about their brands to drive traffic to the e-Commerce and/or web sites.”
Click here to access a PDF version of the Deloitte 2012 Holiday Survey.