More Than A Third Of Consumers Begin Holiday Searches, Make Purchases 1-3 Months Ahead: Study

Data released this week suggests marketers may want to begin their search campaigns at least one month earlier. The study finds that 80% of online purchases are made at least one month before the holidays. 

Nearly 40% of the 1,000 consumers who participated in the study said they begin online browsing for holiday gifts between one and three months in advance and almost 35% make an online purchase between one and three months ahead of the holidays, according to the Digital Satisfaction Index (DSI) study by the Intent Lab, a research partnership between Performics and Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

The study, fielded in October 2019 in the U.S., found that 63% buy all their gifts online. About 40% of shoppers age 35 and older prefer to shop online and in-store.

Some 63% of holiday shoppers start their buying frenzy on retail sites like Walmart and commerce marketplaces like Amazon. Search engines follow at 23% and major retailers and department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s at 10%. Only 1% of consumers start on social media sites.



Intent Lab has been measuring consumer satisfaction related to trust in digital experiences for four years. Analysis from the findings found that trust has dropped. More than half of study respondents are skeptical about anything they read online.

About 77% of respondents are concerned about their online privacy and find it creepy when websites know information about them when they have not had direct communication.

Ashlee Humphreys, associate professor of integrated marketing communications at Medill, evaluated the importance of digital satisfaction in a study conducted in March 2019.

The findings suggests Utility/Ease had the highest importance weighting at 41%, followed by Trust at 21%. But for holiday 2019, consumers are putting an equal amount of importance into Utility/Ease at 27%, Trust at 26%, and Privacy at 26%.

Privacy as a factor of Digital Satisfaction has remained the factor with the lowest satisfaction score, 37.5 points out of 100. Consumer Trust in digital experiences has dropped 3% and has remained the factor with the second-lowest score, 51.8.

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