Even though 65% of U.S. consumers haven’t started their 2015 holiday shopping yet (as of 9/29/2015), retailers and marketers should have powerful research on their side to pave the way for as successful a holiday season as possible. During the 2014 season, CivicScience used its InsightStore™ platform to gather and analyze consumer sentiment, intentions, and stated behaviors for a wide range of shopping-related topics. Some of the highlighted findings are shared below to empower marketers this year — and you can view even more in an on-demand webinar we presented on September 16, 2015:

1) Early Birds vs. Procrastinators

Only 17% of consumers start shopping before the Fall season, while 28% of shoppers wait until the few weeks prior to Christmas.

The early birds tend to be women, more than half (59%) are over age 35, they pay attention to price, and they are more active than most on Pinterest and YouTube.

The procrastinators? Probably no big surprise that they are more likely to be employed men aged 25-54 who consumer a lot of their TV content online. This latter group may be highly persuadable toward online shopping.

2) Thanksgiving and Black Friday Sales Events are Falling Out of Fashion

Even with many stores opening their doors on the national holiday of Thanksgiving, 90% of U.S. adults in 2014 said they had no intentions of shopping on that day.

And Black Friday in 2014 saw less shoppers (and less sales) than 2013 – which was predicted by consumers’ stated shopping intent ahead of time:

Black Friday plans 2014 vs. 2013

3) Online Shopping Lights the Way

Rather than fighting the crowds in the stores, consumers increasingly favor shopping online. In 2014, 44% of U.S. adults planned to do MOST of their holiday shopping online. And they were trading the Black Friday in-store experience for online: 17% of U.S. adults said they would do all or most of their Black Friday shopping online (a 7% increase over 2013), and about 30% of U.S. adults planned to shop on Cyber Monday in 2014.

4) Know Your Different Types of Online Shoppers

Choosing to do your online shopping on store-specific sites (suggesting brand loyalty) or mass online retailers like Amazon.com actually reveals some key consumer differences. Online store-specific shoppers tends to be women in their middle ages (35-54). They are more active on Pinterest and Instagram, and feel they are addicted to their digital devices.

On the other hand, those who favor large web-only retailers don’t have much gender difference, but they do skew younger into the Millennial age group and also have higher incomes than average. They are more likely to value price over brand and price-compare at a higher rate.


5) The Grinch is Stealing In-Store Experiences

Most consumers avoid or minimize holiday shopping in stores, and online shopping is on the rise. Call it a coincidence, but it’s hard to tell whether it’s the store experience that’s driving e-commerce or the convenience of online shopping that’s turning people off to stores. Either way, the bricks and mortar world needs to take serious notice.

In 2014, CivicScience found that 63% of consumers are either shifting as much of their holiday shopping online as possible or minimizing their trips to stores because they “don’t like” or “tolerate” shopping in stores.

What are the top in-store turn offs? Crowds (32%) and lines (15%) are at the top, while another 13% say it’s the attitudes of other shoppers (frankly, those are all probably interrelated). Those earning over $150,000 per year are the most turned off by crowds, and crowd-haters are more likely to say they make only one big shopping trip to “get it all done at once.”


6) Throwing Stores a Little Holiday Cheer

21% of U.S. adult consumers in 2014 said they do love or mostly enjoy in-store holiday shopping. Surprisingly, it’s the younger consumers who are more likely to feel this way.

What do consumers like the most? 18% say it’s the holiday music and decorations – in other words, the festive atmosphere. These folks are more likely to make at least four separate holiday shopping trips. Stores would be wise to play up the “ambiance” factor, maybe even bring in local singing groups or DJs spinning holiday tunes, or get school children to contribute displays or craft items. Another 12% say they prefer to see and touch the products they plan to buy, while 10% say it’s the in-store deals that they like.


About this data:

This highlighting findings came from a collection of reports published by CivicScience from September 2014 – January 2015 as part of the retail holiday shopping season. The data were collected from our enterprise platform for real-time and trended consumer insights, the InsightStore™, using syndicated (non-client) polling questions, which allowed us to quickly view and analyze the results, including cross-tabulating the data with other response data in our massive database. Tens of thousands of consumers in total contributed to these findings. To access the full compilation of these 2014 season reports and to get more details about the collection samples, please visit: http://cs-marcomm.demandco.webfactional.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Insight-Report-Holiday-Shoppers-2014-CivicScience.pdf