Nearly half of consumers done with holiday shopping

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
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According to new research from Valassis, nearly one in five shoppers (aged 18-34) already completed at least 25 percent of their shopping on Prime Day in July.

Consumers chased “Christmas in July” sales to get a head start on their holiday shopping this year, with 40 percent completing a portion of their gift purchases on Amazon Prime Day.

According to new research from Valassis, nearly one in five shoppers (aged 18-34) already completed at least 25 percent of their shopping on Prime Day in July. This strong interest in early holiday shopping gives retailers an incentive to feature holiday sales early and often right through the holiday season.

Retailers have long understood the importance of Black Friday, but are still getting their strategies wrapped around how to “win” Cyber Week so this research focused in to better understand Cyber Week shoppers. First, Cyber Week is critical to success: half of consumers are especially drawn to Cyber Week so that they can take advantage of deals and sales. Second, to win the week you have to win the weekend: 34 percent of Cyber Week shoppers are drawn to retailers that offer Cyber Monday deals, while 19 percent plan to head in-store for Black Friday sales and 18 percent shop retailers that offer week-long deals.

Lastly, retailers know consumers will shop right up to the very last minute; in fact the research found that one in three respondents wait until the last minute to purchase their gifts because they simply haven’t figured out what to get people. Brands and retailers can strategically influence consumers via timely print and digital advertisements and offers late into the holiday rush: 17 percent of respondents expect better deals as the holidays get closer and another 44 percent find better deals and savings opportunities most appealing when they’re conducting their last-minute shopping, even more so than perks like expedited shipping options and the ability to order items online and pick them up in-store.

“With consumer confidence reaching its highest point since 2000 and this year’s holiday sales expected to break records, retailers can anticipate a successful season,” said Curtis Tingle, Chief Marketing Officer, Valassis. “In order to be competitive and come out on top, it’s important they understand consumers’ preferences and offer omnichannel shopping options. However, while consumers are changing when and where they shop, one thing is staying consistent – providing timely and personalized deals enhances the shopping experience and can help earn a greater slice of the pie during this critical retail season.”

Additional key takeaways from Valassis’ holiday survey include:

  • Some consumers don’t mind waiting until the last minute to complete their holiday shopping, but ask a few things in return from retailers:
    • 20 percent find expedited shipping options most appealing, while another 16 percent appreciate the option to order items online and pick up in-store.
    • For younger shoppers (ages 18 – 24), deals and savings opportunities are major motivators, with 52 percent finding this most appealing.
  • While brick-and-mortar stores navigate the new age of retail, consumers can be enticed to shop in-store with:
    • Promotions/deals in the mail and personalized deals (43 percent);
      • Notably, according to RetailMeNot, 72 percent of millennials say it’s important to them that retailers personalize the shopping experience.
    • More product variety/options (26 percent); and
    • Self-check-out options (11 percent).
  • Retailers shouldn’t forget about social media as a sales and advertising channel:
    • Nearly one in four holiday respondents will either conduct research around a potential gift, or actually make a purchase, directly through a social media platform.
      • This number jumps substantially among younger demographics (ages 18 – 34), with 32 percent of these respondents saying they’re planning to use social media to support their holiday purchases.

Using Google Consumer Surveys, Valassis surveyed more than 1,000 consumers who are shopping for holiday gifts this year. All respondents were located in the United States and were over the age of 18. The survey was conducted in October 2018.