Commentary

Holiday Shoppers: Half Will Use Mobile, Half Won't

As holiday shopping nears, many, but not all, consumers will be turning to their smartphone to assist in that endeavor.

Pretty much the same as last year, half of shoppers will use mobile devices in one way or another for shopping and the other half won’t, based on a new study.

Slightly fewer consumers (49%) will use mobile to holiday shop this year compared to just over half (51%) last year, according to the American Express Spending and Savings Tracker study.

And this year, more than a quarter (27%) of mobile shoppers will turn to mobile websites, an increase from 22% last year.

Consumers plan to use their mobile device for a wide range of activities around holiday shopping. Every activity except one is an increase from last year. Here’s how the Amex study says they plan to use mobile this year:

  • 27% -- Browse for gift ideas
  • 27% -- Visit different websites to compare prices
  • 19% -- Access deals available through mobile apps
  • 19% -- Make purchases
  • 15% -- Use barcode scanning apps to compare prices
  • 14% -- Purchasing and/or redeeming mobile or e-gift cards

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The only activity decreasing this holiday season is using barcode scanning apps to compare prices, from 20% doing it last year dropping to 15% this year. This one baffles me a bit, since scanning a barcode with a price comparison app is so much more efficient than searching around websites to find prices, which more shoppers are projected to do this year.

Based on this and another study, average holiday spending will range between $684 and $842.

The Amex study projects that shoppers this year will spend $842 on holiday gifts, compared to $1,260 last year.

The study for Amex was conducted by Ebiquity and comprised an online survey of 1,500 adults in the general populations as well as an affluent group with a minimum household income of $100,000.

In a separate recent study by PwC, household holiday spending this year is projected to drop to $684 from $735 last year, as I wrote about here recently (Dollars Getting In-Gear for Holiday Spending).

Most (72%) consumers say they’re setting a holiday budget this year and a quarter (26%) expects to be finished with their shopping before December, according to Amex.

That gives little time for retailers to prep to accommodate at least the half of shoppers who will leverage mobile.

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4 comments about "Holiday Shoppers: Half Will Use Mobile, Half Won't ".
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  1. Dov Cohn from Bronto Software, October 22, 2014 at 4:11 p.m.

    "Lies, damn lies and statistics" - this needs further analysis. I couldn't find the study referenced online. A drop in percentage, "Slightly fewer consumers (49%) will use mobile to holiday shop," cannot be construed as a smaller absolute number using mobile. The number using mobile may actually be going up. But as a percentage of what? Is the 49% number ALL consumers or Consumers with smartphones?

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, October 22, 2014 at 4:19 p.m.

    The study is available, as a Google search would show Dov, and can be seen here http://about.americanexpress.com/news/pr/2014/americans-check-holiday-list-twice.aspx ; It is a smaller percentage of consumers than the percentage last year. Hope this helps clarify.

  3. Dov Cohn from Bronto Software, October 22, 2014 at 4:27 p.m.

    Gotcha, thanks. Google failed me the first time.
    That's an odd stat, that fewer actual consumers will actually use mobile for holiday shopping, when all other trends are up year over year (except the scanning, as you point out).

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, October 22, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

    Thanks, Dov, I had the same reaction. Will be interesting to see post-holiday stats, which we'll be watching for.

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