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BizReport : Advertising archives : October 17, 2018

Studies ID how merchants can win during holiday season

Two new reports shed light on how consumers will be approaching the upcoming holiday shopping season. Here's what marketers and merchants need to know.

by Kristina Knight

First, Amazon. According to CPC Strategy's new 2018 Q4 Holiday Shopping Forecast nearly all shoppers (80%) will begin their shopping journeys on Amazon; nearly half (46%) say they'll split their shopping between online and physical stores and 40% say they'll buy gifts before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.

Merchants will be happy to know that most shoppers plan to spend at least what they spent in 2017 or to increase their spending for this year's holiday season; on average, shoppers in 2017 spent $250 on gifts. This year, nearly half of shoppers say they'll spend between $251 and $1000 on gifts.

"While we've heard countless stories about the demise of brick- and-mortar stores (B&M), the new selling model for brands and retailers is actually omnichannel," write the report authors. "Customers haven't been replacing their in-store holiday shopping with online shopping. Instead, they've learned to balance the two. About 46% of holiday shoppers plan to buy gifts both online and in store this season."

More CPC Strategy data can be accessed here.

Meanwhile, new data out from Volusion finds that for smaller merchants, the key time for sales is the two weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday. Their study of merchants in the 2 weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday in 2017 found a 23% YoY increase in sales and a 14% increase in volume.

"Small and mid-sized online businesses are catching up to their larger ecommerce counterparts in so many aspects like offering quick shipping and delivery times, and that's being reflected in consumer behavior at the holiday season," said Kevin Sproles, founder and CEO at Volusion. "The belief before was that consumers were not willing to take the risk with purchasing gifts online from smaller merchants in case they did not arrive in time to make it under the tree. But we've seen a steady increase in shoppers supporting SMBs, and what often means a more unique gift, closer and closer to Christmas Day as they've seen they can trust how quickly their packages will arrive."

As to what small and mid-size merchants can expect to push over the holidays, Volusion's data found the top categories are sporting goods, electronics, and apparel.

More data from Volusion can be accessed here.

Tags: 2018 holiday strategy, advertising, CPC Strategy, ecommerce, ecommerce strategy, holiday advertising, Volusion

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