Deloitte: Online sales poised to cross key marker
For the first time ever, online orders are estimated to outshine in-store spending this holiday season.
That’s according to “Deloitte’s 32nd Annual Holiday Survey. The study found that customers intend to spend 51% of their holiday budget online, compared with 42% in-store.
In last year’s survey, online and in-store comprised an equal share, at 47% each. Prior to 2016, people planned to spend more in-store, the study said.
Shoppers’ total holiday spending is expected to average $1,226 — including gifts and gift cards, along with non-gift categories (non-gift clothing, home/holiday furnishings, entertaining at home, socializing away from home and other holiday-related spending). That number nearly doubles among households earning $100,000 or more, averaging $2,226. Higher-income households are even more inclined to buy online. Specifically, those earning $100,000 expect 57% of their spending will be online, and 39% in-store.
Online destinations are also widening the gap among places consumers plan to shop for gifts. This year, 55% of respondents plan to shop online for gifts, increasing its lead over mass merchants at 44%. Department stores are a distant third at 28%, down 3 percentage points from last year.
When shopping on a smartphone, more people are inclined to use dedicated retailer apps or payment apps when making purchases. Roughly 1 in 5 (22%) of respondents using smartphones for holiday shopping think they’ll pay for purchases in-store with a mobile wallet app. However, nearly twice that number (40%), anticipate using a retailer’s app on their smartphone; and 36% plan to use a mobile payment app during the holiday season.
“Whether a retailer is online or store-based, their digital influence is one of the strongest cards to play this holiday season,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader.
“Even though 80% of people said they expect the majority of their shopping will fall in late November onward, decisions about where they’ll shop and what they buy will be largely determined by the digital interactions occurring now,” he said. “In the survey, we found that retailers have a 75% probability of converting a desktop or laptop shopper to a purchaser along with a 59% probability of converting a smartphone shopper.”
When it comes to the type of gifts customers are eyeing, gift cards and clothing tie for the top gift people intend to purchase. In fact, nearly half of respondents (49%) plan to buy these items for others this holiday season. Electronics (42%), gift cards (39%) and cash (36%) are also topping what customers hope to find in their own holiday stockings this year.
There has also been a healthy uptick in higher-end category purchases over the past five years — and the momentum continues. Those who plan to buy jewelry as a gift rose from 18% in 2012 to 26% in 2017. The cosmetics/fragrances/health and beauty category grew from 18% to 29%.
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Google’s holiday tip: get to know the needs of mobile-savvy shoppers
This holiday season, mobile shoppers want help in a hurry — and retailers need to be ready to oblige if they want to win their business.
That’s according to Google’s infographic, “Holiday Checklist 2017: Want to Know About Today’s Mobile-First Shoppers.”
To ensure they can meet their customers’ needs, Google recommends that marketers should focus on the following trends:
Shoppers are visiting stores with greater intent. Mobile research will play a key role in helping customers decide which stores to visit. For example, mobile searches for “where to buy” specific items has jump more than 85% over the past two years. Meanwhile, the time spent watching “store tour” videos on YouTube grew by 10 times over the past two years.
Last-minute shoppers are searching more than ever. Shoppers plan to make purchases right up to Christmas Day. Last year, searches for “where to buy” peaked on Christmas Eve. The top queries included “Where to buy Hatchimals,” “Where to buy NES classic,” and “Where to buy Cards Against Humanity.”
Meanwhile, mobile searches for store hours peaked on Christmas Day — the highest day of the year for this specific search, data revealed.
Shoppers want a personalized experience. Besides doing their research and expecting to find their answer on the go, mobile shoppers also demand results to be tailored to fit their needs. For example, 49% of smartphone owners say they prefer to shop on a mobile site or app that recommends brand or products based on their past views, sales and purchases.
Meanwhile, mobile specified who their gifts are for — from co-workers to hairdressers — expecting to get results relevant to their needs. In fact, these searches grew 50% from the first week in December to the week of Christmas.
Shoppers turn to video to know what they are getting. Stepping up their research results, more shoppers are turning to video. Specifically, “shop with me” videos are soaring in popularity on mobile, growing more than 10 times in watch time over the past two years.
Further, the amount of time that shoppers spent watching ‘unboxing” videos — or videos of the unpacking of products — on their smart phones is the equivalent of watching “Love Actually” more than 20 million times.
Based on this research, discoverability, personalization, and seamlessness will be critical for advertisers this holiday season, according to Google. The company is expanding its services portfolio to help marketers connect with these shoppers. Its new additions include:
• Expanding showcase shopping ads to 15 additional countries. Google has seen subsequent searches for a merchant nearly double after a user expands their Showcase Shopping ad.
• Localizing inventory for the Google Assistant. If you ask Google Assistant “Where can I buy ____ nearby,” products from brands with a “local product inventory feed” will organically surface, without brands paying for these impressions.
• Creating a new local ad format for Display. This will help brands spotlight in-store products and promotions in more rich, visually engaging ways.
• A better method for online-to-in-store shopping. With a number of enhancements, such as impression-based store visits within store visits measurements, brands and retailers will have access to deeper details on shoppers who came into a store after seeing ads online.
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