Two main shopping strategies emerged from the study.
Just what’s needed
One in five (19%) of shoppers surveyed plan to purchase Just What's Needed (JWN). JWN is driven by a combination of demographics (slightly older, less likely to have children, and an average household income of about $60k) and fewer holiday needs (fewer people to shop for and fewer gifts).
A major element of the JWN strategy is “managing temptation.” These shoppers are carefully managing holiday spend, shopping for fewer categories, shopping fewer stores. Most (86%) cited price as the main reason for shopping specific retailers for the holidays.
Most (85%) of these shoppers own a smartphone or tablet, but only 12% regularly use them to research items. Mindful spenders, they had completed a small portion of their shopping (52% had completed 10% or less of their holiday shopping at the time of the survey). Eight in ten (82%) had completed some of their shopping online, while most (56%) have completed less than 25% of their shopping online.
Ten percent had taken advantage of layaway, and only 3% intend to use layaway for remainder of their shopping. Managing their spend is the primary objective.
Half of these shoppers plan to finish their holiday shopping between Black Friday weekend and Christmas, and 38% plan to shop Black Friday Weekend. Of necessity -- waiting for the right deals, minimizing temptation!
Getting the deal you want
Three-quarters of shoppers (76%) surveyed plan to spend the same or more than last year. These shoppers (generally younger, an average income of $67k, more likely to have children) have more holiday shopping demands (more people to shop for, a wider range of gifts to purchase) and more resources to bring to bear (91% own smartphone/tablet, higher incomes, 95% have purchased online for holiday, and half (48%) have made a purchase on their mobile devices).
Getting the Deal You Want (GDYW) represents a proactive, multifaceted holiday shopping strategy designed to give shoppers more control. While they will be starting early, more than half plan to complete shopping between Black Friday weekend and Christmas.
Spreading purchases over a longer time period allows shoppers to manage their expenditures. One-fourth (25%) had already used layaway, and 25% intend to use layaway for remaining purchases.
An extended, proactive approach means they have shopped a wide range of stores (both on and offline). Omnichannel tools are making them much savvier shoppers as they actively seek/create the deals they want.
Thirty-six percent of shoppers surveyed regularly use their mobile devices to read product reviews to aid decisions when in-store. One-third report regularly using their mobile device to check prices/purchases against another retailer while in-store. Twenty-nine percent “check-in” at the store to receive discounts.
Shoppers are using omnichannel to minimize buyer’s remorse -- e.g., 34% regularly check prices online on laptop/PC after leaving the store. A third (32%) regularly request price matches to ensure they are getting the best deal.
Early holiday shoppers provide a window into how shopping strategies are evolving. The extended, proactive approach of Getting The Deal You Want shoppers allows more control as they seek out/create smart purchases.
The emergence of strategies like GDYW is altering the way shoppers view value -- going beyond price. Value stems from getting the right item for the right price, but also from shoppers’ ability to control how and when they purchase. Value also stems from shoppers’ ability to validate/reaffirm the wisdom of their purchases, reducing buyer’s remorse.
The acceptance of omnichannel by early holiday shoppers indicates the importance of a seamless shopping experience. Successful retailers will recognize a “seamless” shopping experience is less about “look and feel” and more about “contextual content.” It is what shoppers value and will use.