Survey Results: How We Really Feel About Holiday Shopping

The holidays mean many things: family visits and culinary feasts, yuletide cheer and merriment, and serious shopping sprees. We surveyed 2,000 holiday shoppers to understand more about shopping habits and preferences for the gift-giving season. Here’s what we found.

Online retailers like Amazon are so engrained in the fabric of our culture that it’s no surprise 70% of respondents prefer online shopping to traditional brick-and-mortar shops. Nearly the same amount (68%) claim to do the majority of their shopping online, as well. Shoppers anticipate buying an average of 20 gifts for the upcoming holiday season, and because it’s so easy to tackle the gift list online, 65% of respondents say they will go to the web instead of the store.

So what does everyone like about online shopping? Obviously, the ease and convenience make online shopping so attractive, yet most consumers still prefer brick-and-mortar shops for some items and experiences. Items that are personal and unique to the consumer, such as clothing, is why 28% of those surveyed prefer physical stores. Food and alcohol are also preferably purchased in person, assumingly to ensure the food meets freshness standards; in-store alcohol purchases might reflect a more immediate need or impulse buy. As commonplace as online shopping is, people still feel more comfortable when they can assess the merchandise firsthand. Twenty-nine percent of the respondents say that wanting to touch the products before purchase is a main reason why brick-and-mortar shopping remains an option.

When it comes to the shoppers themselves, women expect to buy three times more items online than men. However, 40% more women than men were unhappy with shipping costs associated with online shopping, leading to 33% more likeliness among women to shop physical stores just to avoid pricey shipping fees. According to the respondents, when it comes to online shopping, the only thing worse than shipping costs is when a package is not delivered on time—31% claim this is the top reason holiday shoppers hate online shopping.

E-commerce companies are taking notice of unhappy online customers and working to create better customer experiences. According to 57% of those surveyed, incorporating better shipping perks would improve the holiday shopping experience for the online consumer. Interestingly, those of the Baby Boomer generation were twice as likely to choose better customer service as the number one way to improve online shopping experience. Having someone to talk to about a purchase helps bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and the faceless online experience.



Between the lines, crowds, and parking issues, in-store shoppers are nearly twice as stressed as online shoppers, though that could also be because 45% of those surveyed claimed to leave their shopping until the last week or days before the holidays. Still, as technology and customer behaviors continue to dovetail, online retailers will be searching for ways to keep holiday shoppers happy.

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