3 Holiday Shopping predictions to guide retailers through Christmas

With the holiday season inching closer each day, retailers across the globe are faced with mounting concerns ranging from decline in consumer spending, fierce competition from aggresive discounting and steep drop in tourism following terrorist attacks in Paris, Beruit and Mali. As more consumers invest their hard-earned money in experiences such as holidays abroad and dining out rather than materialistic objects, how can retailers boost traffic to their to their stores this Christmas?

"People used to plan holiday shopping marathons for days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday," writes Matt Lawson, Google's director of performance ads marketing, in the latest report 'Holiday Shopping Trends 2015: Three Predictions for Retailers.' "But the days of setting an alarm clock to hit stores in the wee hours may be dwindling. Now shopping happens in micro-moments in between everything else." With consumers changing their shopping habits, Lawson lists three predictions for holiday shopping this year for retailers to take note of this festive season to ensure they garner enough consumer attention to make it into the black by Christmas.

3 Holiday Shopping predictions to guide retailers through Christmas

"Shopping will happen in moments, not marathons" thanks to the rise of the mobile

Although Black Friday is just around the corner, more and more consumers are turning their backs on the idea of camping outside a shopping center in favour of placing a quick order online through their mobile phone. According to the report, 54 percent of the 778 consumers questioned plan on shopping on their mobile phone during spare moments throughout the day. "Shopping will happen in moments, not marathons, this holiday season," adds Lawson. "Rather than relying on day long trips to the mall or camping out overnight during Black Friday, shoppers will be turning to their mobile phones in hundreds of micro-moments, every day, all season long."

These shorter mobile shopping sessions are visible in Google's data - shoppers now spend 7 percent less time per mobile session, in spite of mobile phone online purchases increasing 64 percent over the past year. With 76 percent of UK adults shopping online according to research published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and 30 percent of all online shopping purchases occurring via mobile phone, making a purchase via mobile phone is likely to downplay the prominence of larger shopping days like Black Friday in the long run.

Sunday is rapidly becoming the most popular day for online shopping

Apart from shopping via mobile, the smart device is also increasingly used when conducting background research on products. Over the past year the number of shopping-related searches went up by 120 percent. "Consumers are using their smartphones in all parts of the shopping process ― starting with inspiration, then on through research and purchase." Sunday in particular has become a popular days for consumers when it comes to online shopping via mobile, with shopping searches on a smart phone being 18 times higher on average than any other day of the week.

And consumers are not only consulting their mobile phones prior to making a purchase in store. According to Google's data, 82 percent of smart phone users will consult a product online via mobile whilst in store before completing a transaction. With more consumers starting their shopping experience on a mobile device, retailers should invest in providing the best omni-channel experience possible, with all channels properly aligned.

3 Holiday Shopping predictions to guide retailers through Christmas

Youtube videos key for inspiration, advice and reviews

Another platform that is becoming increasingly important during the shopping process, according to Google, is Youtube. More consumers are turning to the video platform for shopping advice, shopping inspiration and product reviews, with one in every four shoppers revealing online videos are their go-to source for gift idea. With 32 percent of the survey respondents planning to use online videos more frequently this holiday season, it has become a vital source for information, especially when it comes to fashion and apparel. Of all consumers questioned, 64 percent indicated that they would rather watch a video on their smart phone when they have a question instead of consulting a manual or customer service.

"As shopping decisions are made faster, and consumer expectations grow higher, retailers today have to keep a close watch on how customers find, research, and buy their products," concludes Lawson. Retailers who still rely on the shopping rush just before the holidays, may find themselves cheated of their sales target as more consumers pat a visit to the digital store front. But "marketers who understand these new shopper patterns and focus on micro-moments of intent―on both mobile and video―will be more successful with customers this holiday season."

Image credit: Blog.adobe.com, Says.com and Mashable





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