Online beats physical in key retail category

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Online beats physical in key retail category

By Mike Troy - 11/30/2018
Study from Consumer Technology Association shows voice enabled devices gained traction with shoppers over Thanksgiving weekend.

Amid the abundance of reports about holiday sales results and shifting shopper behaviors, a report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) confirms some key trends that are sure to bleed over to other categories in 2019 and beyond.

For the first time ever, more U.S. Black Friday Week (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday) technology gift shoppers bought or planned to buy tech online (59 percent) than at a physical store (58 percent). That’s according to CTA’s holiday outlook study which also showed that for the second year in a row the number of American adults who shopped or planned to shop on Cyber Monday (54 percent) outpaced those who shopped on Black Friday (48 percent). The CTA said that shift has ushered in a new era of online shopping.

“Online shopping drove the momentum for a successful Black Friday Week overall – and especially for tech,” said Ben Arnold, senior director of innovation and trends, CTA. “Just like Black Friday gave way to Thanksgiving Week promotions, Cyber Monday has extended to become Cyber Week sales for many retailers. Online promotions have solidified their spot alongside in-store door busters as ways to drive shopper traffic. The convenience of online shopping is amplified by mobile and now voice shopping options empowering consumers to grab deals anytime and anywhere.”

Among the 75 percent of consumers who shopped or were planning to shop online over Thanksgiving Week, computers were the most popular device to use, according to CTA. Desktop or laptop computer accounted for 55 percent of activity followed by mobile devices at 45 percent and voice enabled digital assistants at 12 percent.

In other findings, a third of shoppers said they spent more than they did last year on gifts during Black Friday Week, and 29 percent of shoppers said the 2018 deals were better than expected. These factors helped contributed roughly half of Black Friday Week tech shoppers saying they made unexpected purchases.