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2018 Holiday Shopping Behaviors

woman holiday shopping

The 2018 holiday shopping season has broken every record and soared past every estimate. It’s currently on track to be the first trillion-dollar holiday shopping season in history. There’s still time to take advantage of this groundbreaking season, and in this article, we’re going to break down how technology is influencing shoppers this year.

If you haven’t already, check out Part I of our holiday shopping series where we look at exactly how much consumers have spent this year, what types of deals they’re looking for, and how retailers can take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. 

Download our 2018 Holiday Shopping Infographic

Where are Consumers Shopping This Holiday Season?

Technology has certainly changed the holiday shopping experience, but that doesn’t mean consumers are exclusively shopping online. In fact, more consumers are shopping in-store this year than last. Natural Insight reports that 88% of consumers plan to shop in-store this holiday season. Even more surprising, consumers across all age ranges reported they would be more likely to shop in-store compared to last year, even the tech-loving millennial generation, reporting 88% vs. 80% last year.

What’s with the increase? It turns out 52% of consumers want to see and touch a product to ensure its quality before making a purchase. This is what makes the holiday shopping experience so unique. Buyers aren’t buying for themselves, so they’re less willing to take a risk. Buying for someone else means consumers want to guarantee quality without having to deal with the hassle of holiday returns or even embarrassment from buying a low-quality gift.

2018 Holiday Shopping Behavior: In-Store Vs. Online

There’s no bad news for brick and mortar stores this holiday season. As we’ve already discussed, the vast majority of shoppers plan to visit brick and mortar stores, but exactly which stores do they plan to visit? The statistics show that shoppers are fairly evenly split between mass merchants, department stores and discount stores.

The key to in-store vs. online behavior this year is to understand what shoppers do in a store compared to what actions they take online. This is where traditional brick and mortar retailers should pay attention if they want to increase their revenue in the 2018 holiday shopping season.

While shoppers will visit an average of seven physical stores and eight online retailers, what they’ll do while shopping is quite different. Not only do consumers shop in-store for quality checks, they’re also looking for inspiration, even outranking search engines.

The takeaway here is, if you’re a traditional brick and mortar, make sure you provide the most pleasant holiday shopping experience imaginable. Make it irresistible for consumers to not just research holiday gifts in your store, but make their purchase there too. Here’s how.

2018 Holiday Shopping On Mobile Devices

Mobile is growing rapidly, and currently accounts for over 30% of sales this season. The convenience and ease of shopping online via a mobile device is undeniable, and if retailers want to take advantage of this opportunity, they need to make sure their websites are mobile-friendly and responsive.

Brick and mortar still remains the largest revenue bringer of the holiday season, but online shopping is catching up. On Cyber Monday alone, consumers spent 95 million hours shopping, that’s about 20 minutes per person. How much of that shopping was finalized on mobile? More than half.

But the biggest trend in mobile this year has been click-and-collect in which consumers make a purchase on mobile and pick up in-store. These types of transactions have seen a 65% year-over-year growth.

Key Takeaways

No other holiday season has ever seen so much growth and revenue, and there’s still time left for more surprises and record-breakers. How can retailers take advantage of the rest of the season?

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