08 Sep Christmas shopping trends
Whether looking for gift ideas for grandma or that must-have toy in stock nearby, Christmas shoppers will continue to use their smartphones, but just how they use them is changing.
Here are the latest consumer shopping trends…
The most important thing for retailers used to be foot traffic—getting a shopper into a store.
Today, shopping happens everywhere: in stores, online, online while in stores. And it happens all the time, throughout the day and night.
So how can retailers make sure they reach shoppers this upcoming Christmas season? Google looked back at last year’s (US) holiday season and analysed the latest retail trends to help marketers get a head start on their Christmas plan.
Sight, sound, and shopping
Google found that when most people start shopping for Christmas gifts, nearly 7 in 10 are totally undecided or considering multiple gift options.
To get ideas, they used to thumb through catalogues or walk by store windows. But today, the web, rich with visuals and videos, is where people most go to browse.
On YouTube, gift guides are a popular and growing trend during the holidays. In this genre of video, creators like Grace Helbig, Zoella, iJustine, even Kid President dole out advice on the perfect gift and often endorse their favourite products to buy.
Most of the time (70%), these videos are watched on mobile. Videos really do guide gift buying. In the consumer electronics category, for one, 68% of smartphone shoppers turn to YouTube for ideas about what to buy.
Quest for the best
Once they have an idea of what to get, today’s shoppers face an overwhelming number of options, especially online. Want to get mum a new scarf? Amazon sells roughly 225,000. Deciding which to buy can leave shoppers stressed, unhappy and paralysed. (Maybe that’s why, last season, nearly 7 in 10 Christmas shoppers in the US said they received a gift card.)
To narrow down the options, shoppers look for (what else?) the best ones. In the top retail categories, mobile searches on Google related to “best” products have grown by more than 50 percent in the last year. And more than ever, shoppers are relying on product reviews in these “which-one’s-best” moments. Last Christmas, reading reviews was one of the top three actions shoppers took while shopping on mobile, up significantly from the previous two years.
Mobile is local
When holiday shoppers are ready to buy, digital will play a big role, but it’s only part of the equation. People still value touching a product, but now they’re tapping a screen at the same time. Mobile searches in stores are up by over 30%. Often, shoppers will buy on their smartphones right there in the aisle. Forty-three percent of mobile shoppers in consumer electronics have purchased products on their phones while looking at those products in the store.
What it really comes down to is convenience—what marketers call “frictionless shopping.” It should be as easy as possible to buy something no matter where someone is. Nearly 7 in 10 people say it’s important that a retailer offers multiple ways to buy a product, such as buying online or picking up in-store. And when they do buy online, shoppers look for free shipping; it was the promotion that shoppers most used last holiday season, more than coupons or discounts.
As shoppers look for the perfect gift this season, there’s no one perfect way to reach them. Rather, it’ll require a combination of tactics to get their attention. The one common denominator is mobile. Mobile lets your business be everywhere in every moment. Now that is some real Christmas magic.
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