Email departments should be humming during this holiday season — 58.5% of shoppers make purchases because of email promotions, compared to only 33% by social media, according to 2019 Holiday Shopping Predictions and Behavior, a study commissioned by Tinuiti, conducted by research firm Survata.
And consumers are in an upbeat mood — 28% are planning to spend $500, a 10% hike over last year. And ten percent are budgeting $1,000, double the percentage in 2018.
But marketers have to be on top of their game. Less than 10% of shoppers say email has often influenced their purchases. That rises to 13% among top spenders. People are turned off by being emailed too frequently.
Age plays a role in email purchasing habits. Of those age 35 and over, 60% are sometimes or often influenced by email. But that number falls to slightly more than 50% among Gen Zers.
Timing also affects response to email promotions. Email purchasing is 3% higher among people who begin their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. Social media plays a lesser role — 7% fewer shoppers say it is influential.
And go figure: 39% of shoppers who have returned gifts last year are influenced by email. And 12.2% often buy items based on email promotion —49% over the average.
That could be because returns may lead to acknowledgements, updates and other transactional emails.
Yet 40% of gift returners are influenced by social media. And that number exceeds 50% for millennials and Gen Z consumers.
Whatever the channel, brands need liberal return policies. Nearly 75% of consumers are more likely to buy if the return process is “clear and hassle-free, “the study says. And that rises to 82% among top spenders, 48.6% of whom have returned gifts, compared with an overall average of 39%.
But retailers have reason to be happy, for "despite looming economic concerns, our findings show that consumers are confident they will spend more than ever this holiday season,” states Tinuiti CMO Dalton Dorne.
Men are most likely to splurge — 31.6% are planning to spend $500 or more, compared to 23% of women.
And Gen X shoppers expect to spend more — 36.3% of those in the 35 to 44 age category expect to lay out more than $500, as do 28.6% of those aged 45 to 54
This is to be expected, given that those groups are more likely to have children.
Meanwhile, 72% of shopper will start their gift search online, with Amazon outranking Google, big-box retailer and bran manufacturer sites as the first step.
The study recommends that brands start emailing early, and that they also send emails for Singles Day, which is now the leading global shopping day.
Survata surveyed 2,003 online respondents.