Holiday online vs. in-store shoppers—who will spend more?

by | Nov 3, 2017 | Public Relations

On average, U.S. consumers anticipate doing nearly 40 percent of their 2017 holiday shopping online, up from one-third just two years ago, reports global information firm The NPD Group.

According to the firm’s new 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, consumers who will be holiday shopping online are planning to spend roughly 70 percent more than their in-store-only counterparts—online shoppers anticipate spending an average of $793 this holiday season and those who will only shop in brick-and-mortar stores plan to spend an average of $467.

“Online is going to play an increasingly critical role in the 2017 holiday shopping season,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group, in a news release. “Retailers, big and small, recognize online retail’s importance and have been turning up the volume on their online strategy this year, which will only intensify during the holidays.”

What’s selling?

NPD’s Checkout Tracking and Checkout Tracking E-Commerce information shows that online purchase frequency of general merchandise categories during the holiday season has increased, while in-store spending occasions have declined. During the fourth quarter of 2016, consumer e-commerce purchase frequency increased 12 percent to an average of more than 6 online orders, compared to brick-and-mortar stores, where consumers made an average of 18 purchases, a 4 percent decline from the prior year.

Home improvement, beauty, apparel and technology were among the faster growing categories in terms of e-commerce purchase frequency. Beauty was one of the few categories which experienced purchase frequency growth at brick-and-mortar stores.

Where are we buying?

Almost three-quarters of holiday consumers plan to do some of their holiday shopping online this year, with even higher likelihood among Millennials and Gen X. Topping the list of anticipated holiday shopping destinations were online-only sites, like Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy, noted by 66 percent of consumers in this year’s survey. Mass merchants/discount stores, and their websites, were the second most popular planned destination, followed by national chains, and department stores.

“New online competition is emerging every day giving consumers more options, but also creating more noise and shopping confusion,” added Cohen. “The key for traditional retail continues to be an omni-presences approach that muffles that noise, synthesizes brick and click strategies and keeps your brand top of mind for consumers throughout the holiday season.”

The Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey is designed to better understand consumers’ shopping and spending intentions for the upcoming holiday season. An online survey was fielded in September 2017 among a US representative sample of NPD online consumer panel members. The survey was completed by 3,785 individuals aged 18 and older.

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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 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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