Holiday Shopping Starting And Online Beating Bricks; Deals Necessary

According to the 2010 Consumer Shopping Habits Survey by Channel Advisor, 58% of consumers are very likely to purchase their holiday gifts online this year, a vast majority over the second runner-up, brick-and-mortar stores, at 41%.

The survey says consumers are cautiously optimistic entering the 2010 holiday shopping season. Some 43% think the economy is bouncing back, while 38% think it's staying about the same. Only 18% of those surveyed, however, feel that the economy was declining, showing the majority are feeling optimistic. Regardless, 41% say that the state of the economy has not affected their shopping habits. 

Whether they are looking for gift ideas, or they know exactly what they want, most consumers are beginning their search with Google, with a 86% of people starting their search there. Yahoo! and Bing came in with a combined total of 11% and Ask received 1% of the vote. And, 59% of people turn to Google for help with gift ideas.

 The retailer's name recognition seems to be unimportant, though, as 67% say they would purchase an identical product from an unknown webstore if the retailer offered a better value. Free shipping and best price are still the big winners here for being most likely to influence consumers to purchase.

An important note, says the report, is the fact that free shipping is becoming more of a precedent as large marketplaces like Amazon regularly offer compelling shipping offers such as free two-day shipping or even same-day shipping. Amazon vs. eBay Amazon continues to experience tremendous growth, and our surveyed consumers were also Amazon fans with 43% listing it as their "first choice" when shopping on marketplaces. EBay wasn't too far behind with 22%% listing eBay as their first choice.

Influence On Purchasing Decision (Rounded Response)


% of Respondents

Trusted seller status


Online coupon for store


No tax 


Free shipping 


Discount coupons 


Customer loyalty/rewards programs 


Best price 


Best return policy


Source: ChannelAdvisor, September 2010

92% of those surveyed say they read product reviews when considering purchasing a product! Of the 92%, 46% have been influenced to purchase a product due to the reviews, and 43% have been deterred from purchasing due to negative reviews. Another 57% return the favor for future buyers by leaving reviews on websites after purchases.

The report offers tips for those who have bad or mediocre reviews: 

  • Listen to the concerns voiced in the reviews and fix those issues 
  •  Offer incentives to happy customers to encourage them to leave better reviews 
  • Add surveys from comparison shopping engines to your webstore

Consumers' opinions on how they determined the trustworthiness of an online retailer fell easily into 3 distinct answers. In ranking order:

1.   Consumers are looking for secure sites through third-party seals of approval. Whether it's the McAfee secure logo or VeriSign Secured, consumer confidence is a necessity to convert shoppers to buyers. If the webstore was not a familiar brand, many consumers felt secure buying from a webstore that accepted PayPal.

2.  Reviews are crucial to the success of e-commerce strategy. One survey participant even said she searches for a company on Google to find more reviews and read about the company. A good shopping experience is critical to create repeat buyers and many customers turn to their friends and family for references,

3.  Consumers regularly look for a professionally designed website that portrays the business as established and trustworthy. One retailer earned 110% more traffic and 53% more revenue with the addition of a Premium Webstore.

90% of consumers are using Facebook, and 53% are using YouTube. LinkedIn claims third place with 38% and Twitter draws 24% usage in the social media field. 38% of those surveyed say they are open to making a purchase through a social site.

10% of consumers have made a purchase from their mobile phone, and many consumers browse mobile sites while waiting in long holiday lines at brick-and-mortar stores.

In summary, the report says that, of consumers surveyed, 41% spent more last holiday season than the previous year, and 40% spent about the same. If those numbers are any indication of this year's holiday season, 81% of consumers are planning to spend the same or even more this year. 

Key takeaways are offered in the report to help prioritize what needs to be implemented to sell more this holiday shopping season:

  • Consumers are thinking positively about the economy and will at least spend the same, if not more, than they did last year
  • Test campaigns on other than the most popular search sites to take advantage of additional consumers. Diversify and list on multiplemarketplaces
  •  Incorporate top purchase decision influencers into social marketing: Free Shipping, Best Price and Coupons. 
  •  Incorporate product reviews
  • Consumers will be deterred by an unprofessional site
  • View your webstore on a Smartphone. You will lose consumers if your site isn't mobile-optimized.
  •  Holiday consumers aren't typically shopping for themselves, so attention to copy is particularly important

To download the free Whitepaper, please visit Channel Advisor here.


1 comment about "Holiday Shopping Starting And Online Beating Bricks; Deals Necessary".
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  1. Alexandria Hayes from Blue Moon Communications, September 30, 2010 at 9:49 a.m.

    Thanks for the excellent info - a virtual treasure trove of actionable data! The Channel Advisor Whitepaper link is missing. Would you please provide it?

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