The holiday shopping season is often a chaotic frenzy with consumers frantically searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Due to wider adoption and the abundance of mobile shopping apps, as well as recent breaches in secure data, holiday shopping today isn’t the same as it used to be.
To help retailers prepare to meet customer needs this year, Vantiv conducted a survey of over 1,000 respondents to gauge their holiday shopping behavior. The consumer responses confirmed that online shopping is continuing to rise in popularity and credit cards remain the most used payment method. However, consumers are showing more concern for online account safety this year due to recent data breaches.
While 80 percent of people plan to purchase gifts this season, the way in which they're shopping has changed. People are shopping online in exponential quantities compared to years past, and they're paying with credit cards while purchasing gifts from companies that they deem trustworthy in handling their private data.
Forty-three percent of consumers plan to purchase holiday gifts online or via a mobile app this holiday season. Millennials are the most likely to choose this channel, with 50 percent buying over half of their holiday gifts online. Almost half of the millennial respondents stated that they’re doing more of their holiday shopping online or via a mobile app than they’ve done previously. In the past, consumers may have used online shopping as a tool for browsing, but ultimately made their purchases in-store. However, this holiday season retailers can anticipate more gifts being shopped for and purchased online.
In total, 38 percent of respondents will do more holiday shopping online than they did in previous years. While shopping activity grows online, it’s important to recognize how current events may keep consumers at bay when it comes to how and where they spend their holiday budgets. While credit cards remain the most preferred payment method for online and mobile app purchases, consumers are split on the safety of their debit cards. Half think debit cards are mostly safe, while the other half don’t see debit cards as safe options at all.
Due to security concerns, 68 percent of respondents say they’ll only shop online at websites that they view as well-known. With those security concerns in mind, 72 percent of consumers say they're more likely to closely monitor their credit and debit card statements this holiday season due to recent data breaches. Even if a retail location hasn't been hacked, the influx and media attention of these breaches has caused consumers to take pause when shopping. While consumers are taking it upon themselves to keep their money safe, it’s important that retailers do the same in making their technology software as secure as possible so consumers feel at ease.
Consumers prefer shopping online because it offers the promises of convenience, free or low-cost delivery options, and often lower pricing than in-store. Despite concerns about data breaches, convenience wins out for consumers, with 66 percent responding they want their holiday shopping experience to be one of ease.
To give consumers what they’re looking for, retailers must not only offer a seamless online shopping experience, but they must also find ways to keep their customers’ data secure so they can shop with confidence. As indicated by this year’s data, with online and in-app shopping trends continuing, retailers should do what they can to give consumers peace-of-mind while they purchase gifts from the comfort of their homes.
Andy Wind is the digital wallet product manager at Vantiv, a credit card processor and POS solution provider for businesses of all sizes.