The holidays are upon us, and retailers are preparing for the influx of shopping activity both online and in-store in hopes of boosting traffic and sales. As the busiest shopping season of the year, retailers can stand to reap big rewards, but it’s important to remember that consumers shop differently during the holidays than they do any other time of year. To better understand what inspires and propels consumers to shop during the holidays, Bazaarvoice partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 2,500 consumers about their holiday shopping habits. The research uncovered three trends that might surprise you.
Don’t Underestimate Offline Shopping
We often associate holiday shopping with long lines, busy stores and crowded parking lots. With the ubiquity and convenience of online shopping, it’s easy to assume that consumers will automatically defer to their desktops and mobile devices to take care of their holiday shopping needs.
But what retailers must remember is that holiday shopping is often a tradition and fun activity for families. In fact, 42 percent of consumers said they shop in-store because they enjoy the festive ambience, and 32 percent of consumers say holiday-related activities like seeing Santa and ice skating are important to the in-store shopping experience. Retailers can delight shoppers by displaying festive décor and hosting fun experiences like musical entertainment or holiday-themed brand activations. Additionally, to make the in-store shopping experience more convenient, retailers can shorten wait times by offering auto- or self-checkout or buy online, pick up in-store functionality.
Expect Impulsive Shoppers and Self-Gifters
Consumers spend much more during the holidays than they do at other times of the year. In addition to buying gifts for loved ones, consumers often are spending on home décor, entertaining supplies and travel. During this high-spend time of year, it may surprise you how spontaneous and impulsive holiday shoppers can be.
According to the survey, 57 percent of consumers said they're more likely to shop impulsively during the holidays compared to other times of the year. Self-gifting is also common during the holidays. Fifty-one percent of consumers admit they’ve kept a gift intended for someone else for themselves because they liked it so much. Given this impulsive behavior, brands and retailers have an opportunity to increase cart sizes and average order values. Consider offering buy-one-get-one deals that appeal to shoppers propensity to self-gift. For impulsive and spontaneous shoppers, display an assortment of stocking stuffers and last-minute items close to the point of purchase, whether it’s near the checkout line in your physical stores or via product galleries and carousels in your online experiences.
Prepare for Experiential Gifters
Though the holidays are traditionally associated with presents under the tree and stockings stuffed to the brim, there's been an emerging trend of consumers buying meaningful experiences as gifts. The majority of shoppers (90 percent) still plan to give physical gifts this year, but nearly one in three plans to give meaningful experiences this holiday season. Our survey showed that craft-related gift experiences were the most popular (47 percent), followed by food-related (45 percent) and travel-related experiences (41 percent). Retailers can take advantage of this trend by partnering with lifestyle brands to enhance the in-store experience. For example, retailers can offer holiday-themed crafting or cooking demos in their stores. This not only attracts shoppers, but also helps them discover new experiences to buy as gifts.
The holiday shopping season is unique, but retailers that pay attention to changing consumer behaviors will have a season worth celebrating. To learn more about the hearts and minds of holiday shoppers, visit Bazaarvoice’s Holiday Headquarters.
Sara Spivey is the former chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice, a, provider of consumer-generated content (CGC), advertising and personalization solutions.
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