Here comes the holiday shopping season, and that means big numbers for online coupons. RetailMeNot.com an online coupon site has put together a report on what consumers are doing online, and how their behavior around coupons reflects on what might happen in general in the consumer goods market.
The Shoppers Trend Report (STR), which identifies retail purchase patterns and consumer trends leading up to the holiday shopping season, shows an 82% year over year lift during the three months prior to the November launch of the 2011 season.
In the survey portion of the study, more than half of consumers surveyed (51%) said that they intended to spend about the same this holiday season as they did last year; with only 11% saying they intended to spend more. Adults ages 35 and older are more likely than younger adults to be trimming their holiday budgets this shopping season (41% vs. 30%). Also, parents are more likely to be spending more on holiday shopping this year than are adults without a child under 18 (15% vs. 10%).
Last month searches by consumers for “Free Shipping” offers were up by 29% from the same month last year. According to the Ipsos Survey, when it comes to preferences toward promotional offers, free shipping ranks first (26%), followed closely by a certain percentage off (23%), buy one-get one free offers (20%) and a certain dollar amount off (18%). Few consumers say that they are most inclined to purchase an item if the promotional offer is a loyalty program points benefit (2%), while 11% select none of these offers.
The free shipping is more interesting to women than to men (31% vs. 21%). College graduates (31%) and parents (30%) are more likely than others to say that a certain percentage off makes them most inclined to make a purchase.
The firm says last year, 50% of merchants with the most consumer interest on RetailMeNot.com during the holiday shopping season were in the apparel category. According to the Ipsos Survey, in 2011 this trend may hold steady with clothing and accessories being the most likely items to be on one’s gift list (54%). Following apparel are books, movies, and music (44%); consumer electronics such as TVs, e-readers, and video games (37%); toys (34%); and bath and beauty products/treatments (26%).
There is, apparently, less interest in home goods like furniture or appliances (18%), travel (7%), or luxury items such as a car or jewelry (3%) as gifts this year.
Women are more likely than men to have clothing and accessories (61% vs. 47%); books, movies and music (49% vs. 39%); toys (41% vs. 26%); and bath and beauty items (35% vs. 16%) on their holiday shopping lists while men are more likely to buy consumer electronics (45% vs. 30%). Adults under 55 are also more likely than older adults to be interested in buying consumer electronics this holiday season (42% vs. 29%).
When it comes to where consumers are shopping, the Ipsos Survey found nearly half of working adults (46%) plan to spend time shopping for the holidays online during work hours, including 11% who expect to spend five hours or more doing so. Among those who are employed, younger adults (under 35) are more likely to holiday shop during work hours than are older adults (55% vs. 40%).
As a percentage of its state’s overall unique Internet users, New York State (#1), Massachusetts (#2), and Virginia (#3) respectively were the top users of online coupons in the United States, according to data from RetailMeNot.com. Arkansas (#48), Mississippi (#49), and Wyoming (#50) were the least active users of online coupons.