The holiday season will officially kick off in a few short weeks, however some shoppers already are developing their shopping strategies and plan to start buying earlier than ever.
In fact, 34% of consumers said they plan to start shopping in October, according to new estimates from HookLogic. The same amount (34%) of consumers said they plan to spend more than they did during the 2013 holiday season. However, because there are more days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2014 than there were in 2013, HookLogic predicts that buying will span beyond the usual Black Friday and Cyber Monday bulk spending.
“Last year, the holiday season was particularly short, so it all depends on where the calendar falls,” said Elizabeth Jackson, CMO at HookLogic. “This year there are additional days, but some years there are six additional days. Retailers are really collapsing the amount of shoppers into the amount of days they have.”
Approximately two thirds (36%) of shoppers said they plan to shop more online this year. “As online shopping becomes more of the norm, more spending will be taking place online,” noted Jackson. However, the store will still play a key role, as more consumers admitted that they will be showrooming and webrooming to find the best deal. “Both are very important, and many consumers are participating in both. Manufacturers and brands should encourage it and make sure they provide the information customers need to make the best decision.”
But shoppers also plan to embrace omnichannel capabilities, such as buy online, pickup in-store, which will see an uptick this year, according to Jackson.
“One of the largest variables for e-Commerce is shipping costs,” Jackson said. “But when a customer orders something, they can pick it up in a store, and they often go in and end up buying more. There’s a real opportunity there.”
When shopping online, consumers consider a multitude of factors being hitting the “add to cart” button. The top influencers on purchases include: Price, product descriptions, product ratings/reviews and product images.
“Price is always going to be a factor, but that alone isn’t going to sell an item,” Jackson explained. “It’s the features, elements and product details that also are extremely important.”
Consumers also are influenced by the social objectives of product ratings and reviews, Jackson added. “Even three- or four-star ratings have an impact. Influencers also depend on the category. For example, product ingredients are especially important for beauty brands.”
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