It may already be too late for brands to get their holiday email programs into place. A new study by Fluent finds that 28% of U.S. shoppers plan to stop before November, and that 52% will do so before Black Friday.
That doesn’t mean there is a bonanza in store for companies that act early: Only 32% of U.S. consumers plan to spend more than they did last holiday season, and 17% will do much more.
But 78% plan to do at least some of their shopping online, and 22% expect to do more than they did last year.
Younger people will lead the way: 52% of those ages 18-24 plan to spend more this year, along with 49% in the 24-34 cohort. In contrast, 38% of shoppers age 35-44 and 34% of those ages 44-54 will do the same, compared to only 10% of those 55+. However, the older shoppers may be expected to spend more.
What is driving consumers?
Home delivery is preferred by 70%, curbside pickup by 24% and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In Store) by 12%.
But here’s a tip for companies trying to lure people into stores: 71% of consumers will check online to see if a product is in stock before visiting the store. And 72% will purchase an out-of-stock item
What’s appeals most to shoppers? Free shipping and fast shipping. Of those polled, 70% say that free shipping is important when choosing one retailer over another. And speed is also key, especially given that Christmas falls on a Saturday for the first time in a decade. This means “less last minute in-store shopping and more pressure on fast shipping.”
Just how fast do shoppers want delivery? Here’s the answer:
1-2 Hours — 45%
Same Day — 51%
Next Day — 60%
Two-Day — 67%
But there’s little margin for error—56% say delivery delays will negatively affect future purchases.
And when picking up, 51% say the online order should be ready in 30 minutes or less.
However, 47% of U.S. shoppers are willing to pay for 1-2 hour delivery, 49% for same day and 48% for next day.
Then there’s returns.
Before they buy, 55% check for an extended holiday return policy, and 77% deem it important that they can return an online order to a physical store.
The U.S. results are roughly in line with those for the UK: 21% of UK consumers plan to start their holiday shopping prior to November, and 42% before Black Friday. And 22% expect to spend more than last year.
Moreover, 86% will do at least some of their buying online, but only 16% are increasing it.
And, 79% prefer home delivery, compared to only 9% who like click & collect outside and 18% who want click & collect inside.
Fluent surveyed 500 U.S. and 500 UK consumers in September 2021.