The latest read on consumer behavior during the holidays shows customers shopping earlier while also being more strategic — especially when it comes to bargain-hunting.
More importantly, consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to do their shopping. According to RetailMeNot’s 2015 Insights Guide for Retailers holiday report, “mobile browsing is gaining increased influence over purchases made across channels, but shoppers are still hesitant to buy on smartphones.”
The company, which connects shoppers to retail deals via its Web site and mobile app, said a year-over-year comparison of holiday shopping season e-commerce trends revealed that its mobile app platform had significantly higher impressions in 2014 than in 2013. But the results showed the desktop is still tops with click-through conversions. However, the importance of mobile devices in the “shopper’s journey” has never been greater, the company said.
“Research shows a spike [82 percent] in the utilization of mobile devices for deal-seeking — allowing consumers to research for holiday gifts whenever most convenient,” the report noted. And that could mean right when they’re in the store or mall.
“This holiday is going to be a more mobile holiday season,” said Michael Jones, senior vice president of retail and brand solutions at RetailMeNot. “And retailers need to be ready — especially with in-store content.”
“[Our] internal data found consumers are more likely to browse on a mobile device in certain categories, such as apparel, shoes and kids and toys,” the report said. “These categories may benefit from strong in-store offer content as shoppers browse their aisles with mobile devices in hand.”
By categories searched on a smartphone, the company’s data showed that apparel was ranked number two, followed by health and beauty at three and shoes fourth. “Multicategory” came in at number one.
Regarding the timing of promotions and when consumers begin shopping, the research showed some disconnects. “Almost half of shoppers [48 percent] said they completed the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday in 2013, indicating that the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday are just as important for retailers as the holidays themselves.”
The researchers went on to say, though, that “retailer promotional content doesn’t always meet consumer demand. Other than Thanksgiving weekend, we found that the amount of deals offered by retailers fluctuated wildly throughout November,” the report said. “Interestingly, the volume of offers dipped to a low point on November 1, which is a day that many consumers are poised to begin their search.”