Survey: Most shoppers will visit stores this holiday season
Unfazed by store closures, shoppers plan to get most of their holiday shopping done in-store this year.
Nearly three-quarters of consumers (71%) plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping in physical stores — the same percentage from a similar poll a year ago. Additionally, the vast majority (88%) plan to at least visit stores this holiday season.
This was according to a new survey from global business-advisory firm Alixpartners. The study is based on responses from more than 1,000 U.S. consumers.
Retailers face a host of complex and demanding trends this holiday season, including some related to recent store closures around the country. For instance, nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents said they’ve been personally affected by store closures — specifically, that a store they “visit frequently” has closed in the past 12 months. Of that number, 20% are those earning $100,000 a year or more, the kind of high-earners most retailers yearn for.
Only 6% of all respondents said that if a store they frequently visit closed or closes, they’ll no longer make their purchase. However, a third (36%) of impacted consumers said they would instead shop at a competitor. This suggests that while sales may not just evaporate, individual retailers may have a tough time hanging onto what they had before, the study revealed.
Among other increasing challenges retailers may face this holiday season, 80% of shoppers said they have conducted online research as part of their in-store shopping process, including from inside the store itself. That’s up from 62% in a similar AlixPartners survey in 2015. (The question wasn’t asked in last year’s survey.)
“Our survey suggests that companies won’t be facing anything like the so-called retail apocalypse this holiday season, but they certainly will be facing a difficult conundrum — how to deal with an unprecedented mix of increasingly complex channel, customer and competitive dynamics,” Joel Bines, co-head of the AlixPartners’ retail practice and a managing director, AlixPartners.
“The winners in this environment will likely be those who truly master &lsquoclicks-and-bricks’ strategies, without short-shrifting the &lsquobricks’ part,” he added. “Also important is localizing assortments, marketing and promotions to match today’s fast-changing markets, including at the regional level and below. And last but not least, making the necessary efforts and investment to understand today’s customer.”
On a positive note, the survey revealed that a whopping 84% of consumers expect to spend the same or more this holiday season, up 1% point vs. AlixPartners’ poll last year. In addition, 93% expect to start their holiday shopping at the same time as last year or earlier, and of those who expect to start shopping earlier, 42% expect to spend “somewhat” or “significantly” more than they did last year.
Other findings include:
&bull 92% of respondents plan to use online sources to research their purchases during the holiday-shopping season.
&bull Consumer electronics is the most online-researched retail category in the survey, with 38% of respondents saying they’ve conducted online research.
&bull Apparel and footwear have the highest online sales penetration in the poll, with 37% of respondents saying they’ve made an online purchase.
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Study: Online retailers at risk of losing $2.1 billion this holiday season
More unauthorized product ads are hijacking the consumerexperience — an issue that will cost retailers precious revenue this holiday season.
As unauthorized product ads are injected into consumer browsers — and appear on retailer sites — consumers are distracted from the retailer’s offerings. This disruption – known as online journey hijacking – cuts directly into retailers’ revenue, an issue that could cost companies $2.1 billion this holiday season.
This was according to “The Impact of Online Journey Hijacking on E-Commerce Q4 Sales in the U.S.,” a report from Namogoo.
According to the study, 15% to 25% of all e-commerce customer sessions are exposed to unauthorized ads while browsing retailer sites, and this could increase to 20% to 30% of all sessions during peak shopping seasons. In addition, 80% of the displayed ads during peak season are competitive product ads, sending a retailer’s traffic directly to its competitors.
Meanwhile, hackers are sharpening their malware just in time for the holiday season. Specifically, malware developers are pulling out all the stops to increase their reach and optimize their ads to generate more clicks and revenue, there report said.
As the holiday season heats up, online journey hijacking will likely remain steady at the 15% to 25% in September/early October, and increase exponentially during busy shopping periods such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
“Amazon isn’t the only threat to retailers this holiday season. Online journey hijacking is a serious issue for online retailers, not just from a revenue standpoint but also in terms of brand experience and loyalty,” said Chemi Katz, co-founder and CEO of Namogoo. “The amount of lost revenue resulting from such tactics is astronomical and can be devastating, particularly at such a pivotal shopping time as the holiday rush.”
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