With the most wonderful time of the year underway for shoppers and retailers alike, the majority of consumers have kicked off their holiday purchasing. A new nationwide Citi Retail Services study shows that they’re increasingly adopting new shopping habits to do so.
Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans are still choosing to shop in-store this holiday season. However, technology is providing new, enticing means for customers to seamlessly augment their retail experience via connected devices — a trend largely being led by millennials and Gen Xers.
In fact, this holiday season, 60 percent of millennials and 53 percent of Gen Xers intend to make their holiday purchases on a laptop or computer; 55 percent of millennials and 48 percent of Gen Xers on a mobile device; and 17 percent of millennials and 22 percent of Gen Xers through a virtual assistant, such as Amazon.com's Alexa or Apple’s Siri. This voice-driven shopping trend can be attributed in part to the fact that smart speaker ownership continues to increase dramatically. Adobe predicts that smart speaker ownership will rise to nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. consumers after the holiday season, up from 32 percent in August. And it’s not limited to the holiday season: in our annual back-to-school survey, we found that 19 percent of parents between the ages of 18-29 are adopting voice assistants to help with back-to-school shopping. We can expect to continue to see voice-driven shopping behaviors rise in tandem as ownership of these devices increases.
As shoppers seamlessly shift from brick-and-mortar stores to smartphones and smart speakers, retailers are increasingly strategizing about how they can effectively engage consumers across channels, ensuring a well-connected shopper experience. The most successful retailers are driving consistent offers and deploying marketing strategies to reinforce merchandise and offers across all touchpoints.
And as consumers adopt new channels through which to shop for the holidays, they also continue to leverage rewards to extend their purchasing power. A substantial 84 percent of consumers plan to shop at retailers where they are a rewards member, and 60 percent have “saved up” their rewards on purchases throughout the year so they can allocate them towards a holiday gift. Retailers have a unique opportunity during this crucial time to engage with their most dedicated customers, with offers targeted to valuable rewards members.
Looking beyond the holiday season and ahead to 2019, having an omnichannel approach to reaching consumers will continue to be critical for retailers in their efforts to engage a wide range of consumers interested in all kinds of products, from everyday purchases to the latest innovations.
To view the full findings from our survey, complete with these and other insights on retail shopping trends this holiday season, please click here.
Leslie McNamara is the chief marketing officer and head of workforce development at Citi Retail Services, a payments provider to retail brands.
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Leslie McNamara is Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Workforce Development for Citi Retail Services, one of North America’s largest providers of private label and co-brand credit cards for retailers.
Named to this role in August 2018, Leslie’s role focuses on organically growing the business through Partner, Cobrand and Digital Marketing. Supporting these key growth areas and also reporting to her are Research and Insights, Strategic Communications and Workforce Development. Most recent Leslie served as Head of Business and Market Development for Citi Retail Services, from April 2016 until August 2018. The Business and Market Development group — which Leslie was instrumental in founding — was a new unit Leslie encompassing all market-facing activities for Citi Retail Services. Her responsibilities in that role included Business Development, Research and Insights, Strategic Communications, and Workforce Development. Before assuming this role, she was Citi Retail Services’ Managing Director for Partnership Management, a position she accepted in August 2011. In that role, she provided strategic direction and leadership for Citi’s retail partner private label and co-brand credit card programs. She also headed the company’s field sales and merchant services organizations, which provide day-to-day sales and processing support for the business’ partners’ retail locations.
Leslie is a winner of Citi’s Senior Excellence in Leadership Award and is active in the bank’s women’s leadership initiatives, including keynotes at Citi’s Women Leadership retreats. She serves as a Board Trustee on the Thomas Jefferson University Enterprise Board’s Inclusion, Community Engagement, and Diversity Subcommittee. She is also recognized leader in the payments industry, being a 3x honoree of PaymentSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments.
Leslie joined Citi in 2002, holding positions of increasing responsibility in Partner Management, Marketing and Customer Engagement. Her financial services experience is rooted in consumer lending, business development and marketing, with a concentration in cards and payment products. Her former employers include CoreStates Financial Corp, Mellon Bank, Qwest Interactive, and Proctor & Gamble.