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Google Holiday Study Cites Big Web Presence

Half of all U.S. consumers will research holiday goods online prior to Thanksgiving weekend, and 60 percent will make a Web purchase that weekend.

The shopping majority is online.

This story first appeared in the October 31, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Half of all U.S. consumers will research holiday goods online prior to Thanksgiving weekend, and 60 percent will make a Web purchase that weekend, according to a holiday research study conducted by Google set to be released today.

Scott Falzone, industry director of retail at Google Inc., said Black Friday will be the biggest mobile shopping day of the year.

“It was last year, and data suggests it will be again this year,” he said.

Eighty-nine percent of shoppers will use the Internet this holiday season and 79 percent call the Web their most useful shopping resource. Three-quarters of consumers will use online research to help determine which brands and retailers they’ll turn to and what kinds of gifts they’ll buy.

Forty-one percent of adult shoppers will use a smartphone to either shop or for research this holiday. And out of all shoppers who own a smartphone, 76 percent will use their device to shop this year and 25 percent will transact via their mobile device.

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However, it is Millennials who will drive mobile holiday shopping. Eighty-eight percent of smartphone owners in this group will use their device for online shopping and 31 percent said they will transact via their smartphone. The study saw a 28 percent year-over-year increase in Millennial smartphone owners who plan to make a mobile holiday purchase — versus just a 13 percent increase for adults ages 35 and over.

“That stood out for us,” Falzone said. “That’s a shift in what the Millennials are looking to do. That’s significant. One in three [plan to purchase on a mobile device] versus one in four a year ago.”

Based on data gathered last year, Google expects mobile shopping will correlate with traditional in-store shopping days, including the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Over half of people will use their smartphones while they are in-store — and 47 percent will do price comparison research via mobile device and buy in-store.

Falzone said cross-screen shopping is another significant trend. Eighty percent of shoppers will use more than one device at once and 84 percent will start their shopping journey on one device but complete it on another device.

He called wearable technology — like Nike’s FuelBand or Samsung Galaxy Gear — the “breakout category” of the year.