More consumers are trading in the in-store holiday shopping experience for the ease of online shopping. This year more people are expected to shop online than the 2014 holiday season. The National Retail Federation forecasts online sales to increase 6% – 8% this year.
From the end of August to mid-October, CivicScience polled 19,201 U.S. adult consumers on their online holiday shopping intent and found that 50% of adults plan to do more than 25% of their holiday shopping online this year. Let’s see how that compares to last year’s data, after eliminating those who don’t plan to holiday shop:
At this stage in the season, we see only a few additional percentage point growth in U.S. adults who plan to conduct more than 25% of their holiday shopping online (56% in 2015 vs. 54% in 2014). But a lot can change. Last year, we started our polling on this much later in the season (mid-November). This year, we started polling early but will continue to monitor changes to online shopping volume plans as the season progresses.
That said, the majority of U.S. adults once again will be doing at least a quarter of their holiday shopping online.
A Look at the “Over 50%” Online Shoppers
In this report, we’ll use our InsightStore™ to find out more about the 2015 adult consumers who intend to do at least half of their holiday shopping in cyberspace. By comparing those who plan to do more the majority of their holiday shopping online to the average adult, we can discover some clear differences.
- Gender breakdown: The gender breakdown is the same as the general population – 51% women, 49% men.
- Age: 44% are 25-44 which is 26% more than average.
- Household income: They are more likely to have a higher than average income. Over half (52%) of heavy online shoppers have a household income over $75K. They are also more likely to have a higher education than average.
- Parental status: They are 11% more likely to have children, but are 27% less likely to have grandchildren.
- Residential area: They are slightly more likely (+9%) than average to live in the suburbs.
Not only are coveted Millennials planning to do the majority of their holiday shopping online, but younger Gen Xers are as well. And this group overall tends to have more money to spend.
- Online reviews: Heavier online shoppers are 65% more likely to view online reviews.
- Ad influence: They are 38% more likely than average to be most influenced by ads on the Internet, which may be a lucrative advertising opportunity for retailers.
- Electronics brands: They are 29% more likely to say brand is more important than price when shopping for electronics and media.
- Early adopter and evangelizer: They are 25% more likely to try new products before others and are 22% more likely to tell others about new products/offerings.
- Holiday spending: They are 23% more likely to plan on spending more this holiday than last and are 11% more likely to spend the same amount. This should be good news for retailers.
- Coupon usage: They are 17% more likely to say they will use coupons on non-food / grocery purchases as long as it is convenient, but they are 19% less to use coupons every chance they get.
- Social consciousness: They are slightly more likely (+12%) to say a company’s social consciousness and overall kindness is very important when choosing where to shop.
What do these consumers dislike most about shopping in stores during the holidays? The crowds top their list, followed by the attitudes of other shoppers, both of which are difficult for stores to control.
It’s not really surprising that these individuals are more tech savvy than average, but let’s find out the specifics about their device ownership and usage rates.
- Smartphone usage: 78% use a smartphone. And not only are they more likely to use a smartphone, but they are also more likely to use their smartphone during their path to purchase. 45% of those who plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping online frequently use their smartphone to research products.
- Tablet ownership: 57% own a tablet computer and 37% of those who plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping online at least sometimes make purchase on their tablet.
- Importance of apps: 33% say mobile phone / tablet apps are important or a passion of theirs.
Social Media Usage
In general 45% of holiday online shoppers spend more than an hour each day on social media sites, which is more than the average adult. Below are the specific sites they more active on than the average U.S. adult.
- They are 33% more likely to actively (daily or weekly) use Pinterest.
- They are 29% more likely to actively (daily or weekly) use Twitter.
- They are 22% more likely to actively (daily or weekly) use Facebook.
- They are 20% more likely to actively (daily or weekly) use Instagram.
Consumers are moving more of their holiday shopping online, which may be driven by their distaste for the in-store crowds during this busy retail season. In general, those who plan to do over 50% of their holiday shopping online are more likely to spend more this holiday than last. They spend more time online looking at product reviews and on social sites, and they are also more influenced by online ads. Retailers may be able persuade this group to do more shopping in stores, but they will have to get creative – coupons and store deals won’t be as attractive to the online shoppers, but things such as exclusive product offerings or special store hours may grab their attention and make them more willing to brave the holiday crowds.
We’ll issue an update to this report in about a month, to see if online spending volume plans change among U.S. adult consumers. Until then, CivicScience InsightStore™ clients can monitor the polls at any time to watch for shifts.