Don’t bet the store on traditional strategies this holiday season

by | Aug 30, 2017 | Public Relations

Last year, retailers rang up a whopping $658 billion in holiday sales. While consumer spending is forecast to remain steady, shopping habits are changing—and to help brands and retailers plan for the yuletide rush, new research from digital marketing agency CPC Strategy reveals insights about consumers’ holiday shopping plans, from how much they’ll spend to where they’ll look first.

The firm’s 2017 U.S. Holiday Shopping Forecast uncovers insights that should shape every retail marketer’s strategy—including when shoppers are most likely to start buying gifts, a breakdown of how different ages and genders shop, and how Amazon influences their purchase decisions.

“Our survey hints that Q4 2017 may be even bigger than last year–but not in the way you’d expect,” said Rick Backus, CEO and co-founder of CPC Strategy, in a news release. “More shoppers expect deals far before Black Friday or late in December. Fast and free shipping is now the baseline. The truth is, retailers and brands can’t afford to rely on the tactics they’ve used every year. Amazon has completely changed consumer expectations, for better or for worse.”

Don't bet the store on traditional strategies this holiday season

The research found shoppers were divided between shopping early and shopping late—in fact, more than 35 percent of shoppers will begin tackling their gift list early, while 32 percent won’t warm up to the holiday spirit until December rolls around.

Don't bet the store on traditional strategies this holiday season

Amazon’s wildly popular Prime Day could be part of the reason why so many shoppers opt to stock up on gifts before the holiday lights are lit. This past July, Prime Day sales grew by more than 50 percent.

Amazon looms large in the survey. Roughly 72 percent of shoppers plan to look for gifts on Amazon.com, and 32 percent of shoppers price check products on Amazon.com while in a store.

Other key takeaways:

  • 1 percent of shoppers plan to spend about the same or more as last year
  • 46 percent of shoppers plan to look for gifts at specialty retailers that cater to a specific demographic (Chewy.com, Anthropologie, Sephora.com)
  • 1 percent of shoppers report overall price (including shipping) as being the most important reason to buy holiday gifts from a particular retailer.

Download the study here.

Don't bet the store on traditional strategies this holiday season

The survey was commissioned by CPC Strategy and conducted by Survata, who asked 1,500 online respondents a series of questions, including when they plan to start holiday shopping, where they plan to look for gifts, how much they plan to spend and whether they price check products and where.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter