An Early Look at 2016 Holiday Gift Shopping Trends

a Christmas gift

We all know people who start holiday gift shopping as soon as the kids go back to school. We all know people who make a mad dash to the mall on Christmas Eve. We all know people who wait on line in front of discount stores to take advantage of doorbuster deals on Black Friday. And we all know people buy everything online with their fuzzy slippers on and never leave the house.

But when do most people start their gift shopping? How much do Black Friday and other sales events impact shopping plans?

InfoScout conducted a survey of approximately 2,100 consumers over the weekend to answer these questions and see what factors are influencing shopping behavior.

How Much Holiday Gift Shopping Has Already Been Done?

More than seven in 10 consumers (72%) have started their holiday gift shopping. However, a larger percentage of shoppers have yet to start shopping compared to last year (28% vs. 21%). Also, shoppers were further along at this point in 2015 than they are this year.

The fact that people haven’t started shopping as early as they did last year could be due to the continued growth of Amazon and its fast, inexpensive shipping options for Prime members. In fact, a new study from Cowen & Co. reported in Barron’s estimates that Prime memberships have increased 23% to nearly 50 million since last year. People are more confident that gifts will arrive on time, and they don’t have to pay a fortune for fast shipping.

Also, the fast emergence of the Click and Collect option (buy online and pick up merchandise in the store) could be making it easier for shoppers to procrastinate. Click and Collect eliminates two major frustrations from the holiday shopping equation – long lines and shipping fees. As a result, 95% of those who used Click and Collect last year plan to do so again this year.

Is Black Friday Losing its Mojo?

Trends are pointing in that direction, especially if you consider that Black Friday is now part of a month-long (or more) sales push rather than a one-day event.

However, more people are taking advantage of pre-Black Friday sales, and fewer people are planning to shop Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. 36% of respondents are shopping pre-Black Friday sales this year, up from 31% last year, while 32% plan to shop on Saturday and Sunday, down from 37% last year. This would indicate that people know they can get most of the same deals before and after Thanksgiving weekend.

The continued dilution of Black Friday helps to explain why Super Saturday, the last Saturday before the Christmas weekend, continues to grow in terms of shopping trips and sales.

Online, In-store, or Both?

Overall, more shopping continues to move online. 42% of survey respondents plan to do most or all of their holiday gift shopping online in 2016, compared to 38% last year. 16% plan to do most or all of their holiday shopping in a physical store compared to 20% last year.

As for Black Friday in particular, more people plan to shop online (28%) than last year (25%), while fewer people plan to shop in stores (37%) than last year (41%). The gap was much wider for Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, as 27% plan to shop online compared to 19% in 2015, and 28% plan to shop in stores compared to 36% last year.

Using our proprietary apps that capture physical and digital receipt images of customer purchase data, InfoScout will be analyzing shopping behavior in near real-time this weekend, from Black Friday to Amazon to Click and Collect. Check back often as we publish these valuable insights!

2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 2

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In the run-up to Black Friday, InfoScout’s team of researchers has been examining holiday shopping trends and has developed a number of predictions. Part 1 of our two-part blog series ran yesterday; today we share Part 2.

Our predictions for the 2016 holiday season include:

Any growth in year-over-year holiday sales will be won by Amazon – for all other retailers, the shopping season will be a zero-sum game.

Last year, the No. 1 “first stop” for Black Friday shoppers was Walmart — but running a close second was Amazon, as shoppers preferred to enjoy the leisure of shopping from home, rather than brave the crowds. InfoScout expects that trend to accelerate in 2016.

“Amazon’s share of holiday sales will grow by double digits again this year,” Schrieber said. “In fact, we expect Amazon to account for virtually all growth in retail sales, while others fight over their share of the rest of the pie.”

Voice products like Amazon Echo will have a breakthrough holiday season.

InfoScout predicts 2016 will be the Year of Voice for holiday shoppers, as products like Amazon Echo, Google Home and others in the “smart speaker” category gain awareness and rapid adoption.

“Last year was a huge win for the Amazon Fire, which dethroned the iPad as the top-selling tablet on Amazon during the holiday season. This year promises to be even bigger for the Amazon Echo; we predict it will be among the season’s hottest products,” Schrieber said.

Use of “click and collect” among shoppers will more than double.

“Click and collect” services enable people to shop online and then pick up the items at the store, giving shoppers the ability to avoid long checkout lines and shipping fees. InfoScout expects usage of “click and collect” to spike dramatically this year.

“An InfoScout survey earlier this year showed that only 34.6 percent of shoppers had used ‘click and collect’ — but of those shoppers who used it during the 2015 holiday season, a full 95 percent plan to use it again in 2016. That suggests rapid adoption is on the way,” Schrieber said.

It will be another difficult holiday season for mobile payments.

Apple Pay had a disappointing season in 2015, being used in only 2.7 percent of eligible transactions. That was down from 4.9 percent in 2014. InfoScout predicts 2016 will be even tougher for Apple Pay — especially now that top retailers including Walmart and Kohl’s have introduced their own mobile payment options.

“The challenge for mobile payment options is that shoppers don’t find them any easier or more convenient to use than credit or debit cards. Until that changes, adoption will fail to cross the chasm,” Schrieber said.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

Business and consumer news media interested in specific holiday shopping data and trends may send inquiries to infoscout@ideagrove.com.

2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 1

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In the run-up to Black Friday, InfoScout’s team of researchers has been examining holiday shopping trends and has developed a number of predictions for the 2016 season. Here are some things to look out for in the weeks ahead:

Super Saturday is on track to overtake Black Friday as the No. 1 shopping day of the season.

Despite retailers’ best efforts to pull holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday, consumer procrastination is actually pulling trips later into December. Super Saturday (Dec. 17) —the last Saturday before the Christmas weekend — looks to continue its recent trend of stealing share of trips from Black Friday. In 2015, Super Saturday saw 12% more trips than the prior year, while Black Friday trips remained flat.

“Black Friday has become an increasingly artificial phenomenon, driven as much by retailer promotion as by its date on the calendar,” said Jared Schrieber, InfoScout’s co-founder and CEO. “Super Saturday, by contrast, offers a more practical reason for primacy in shopping trips — it’s the last weekend to shop before the holiday.”

Being a consumer’s “first stop” is more important than ever.

A smaller concentration of sales on Black Friday means shoppers will tend to complete their trips earlier — which makes the importance of being a shopper’s first stop greater than ever. Last year, for example, InfoScout data showed that shoppers who made Walmart their first stop on Black Friday spent nearly twice as much there as those who made it their second stop. Virtually every retailer achieves a substantial “first stop” benefit (on average, an 18 percent basket size increase).

“Last year, 74 percent of Black Friday shoppers went to more than one store, and many of those went to a third and fourth,” said Schrieber. “On the other end of the spectrum, 38 percent of shoppers who went to Walmart first did not go to any other store on Black Friday. We expect the trend toward visiting fewer stores to accelerate — which makes attracting customers to your store first critically important.”

For TV buyers, it’s all about price and size in 2016, not 4K resolution or other fancy features.

InfoScout’s recent survey of 840 recent TV buyers showed that just one in five TV buyers — 21 percent — purchase the brand they intended to purchase when they walk into the store. The rest either don’t have a specific brand in mind, or change their mind after they enter the store. What’s more, product features, such as 4K resolution or Smart TV functionality, are not the differentiators brands would like them to be. Only 26 percent of TV shoppers chose a specific brand because of product features.

“When we are expecting 55-inch 4K TVs to be sold for as low as $315 on Black Friday, are consumers really buying these TVs because they have 4K resolution? Our data suggests they will be buying them because they fit their wall and their wallet,” says Bob Goodwin, InfoScout’s practice leader for consumer technology.

Look for “2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 2” on our blog tomorrow.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

Business and consumer news media interested in specific holiday shopping data and trends may send inquiries to infoscout@ideagrove.com.

How New Year’s Resolutions Impact Shopping Behavior

New-Year_Resolutions_list

 

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to commit to a healthier lifestyle in 2016? If so, you’re certainly not alone! Here at InfoScout, we thought it would be interesting to learn more about these resolutions and how they will impact shopping behavior early in the year. It’s hard to change shoppers’ habits, but New Year’s Resolutions create a tremendous opportunity for brands and retailers alike.

 

The following is a snapshot of a deeper analysis recently presented to InfoScout clients as part of our Insights in Action webinar series available here.

 

What's Your New Years Resolution

 

Our study started by surveying InfoScout panelists to see whether or not they made any resolutions at all. Two-thirds of our respondents made a resolution of some type and among all resolutions, getting more exercise, eating healthier, and losing weight are the most popular goals for 2016.

 

Perhaps the reason so few resolutions seem to come to fruition is because obstacles to success abound (see chart below). In fact, 95% of the eat healthier/lose weight crowd are worried about being successful. Developing tools and coping mechanisms to overcome old habits, time and budget constraints are key to meeting their goals. In addition, many Americans believe that one of the keys to achieving their healthy eating and weight loss goals is a variety of healthy (and tasty) food choices so boredom doesn’t become a factor. If you support a food brand or a grocery merchant, take a moment to think about how you can help consumers overcome these obstacles with the right shopper marketing and merchandising plan. How can you speak to these desires and fears while they’re still relevant?

 

Those who want to live a healthier lifestyle in 2016 overwhelmingly plan to buy healthier foods (74%) and cook more at home (57%).  Working in partnership with someone to keep them accountable is also in the plan for nearly 40% of respondents. Six percent of respondents, especially the most committed, plan to work with a dietitian or a nutritionist.

 

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According to our survey, if consumers resolving to eat healthier actually keep their resolutions, we’re likely to see more fresh produce, fish, and lean meats in their grocery baskets this year, in addition to yogurt, brown rice, and many other healthier foods. The most committed health seekers also plan to ramp up purchases of flaxseeds, chia seeds and coconut oil.

 

Taking a look at the actual purchase behavior of these respondents so far this new year, we can see that their purchases of fresh fruits & vegetables are indeed up- increasing their share of grocery spend by 11.5% from December to January. Fish is already capturing a whopping 35% greater share of stomach month-over-month. Clearly, these consumers are putting their money where their mouth is.

 

One way to capitalize on these changing behaviors is through cross-promotions – especially those that include the types of healthy foods listed above.  InfoScout’s Cross-Promotion playbook makes it easy for brands and retailers to identify the cross-promotion opportunities most likely to be a hit with your targeted shoppers while driving truly incremental sales.  If you’re interested in learning more, you can watch this free webinar recording that uses Weight Watchers and yogurt as examples.  You’ll be surprised to see just how easy it is to do for your own brands and categories!

 

About the data
The insights from this post were derived from InfoScout’s “Insights in Action” webinar series. The underlying data include a combination of 1,000 survey responses and purchase behavior reports available through our InfoScout Insights™ platform which analyzes the shopping activity of more than 300,000 Americans who report more than 275,000 shopping trips every day through our Receipt Hog, Shoparoo, and Receipt Lottery apps.

America Loves ‘Click and Collect’

clickandcollect

 

Recently, our friends over at CNBC asked us to take a closer look into services that allow people to shop online and then pick up the items in-store—also known as “Click and Collect.” Through a survey to more than 1,000 American shoppers, InfoScout determined that of the 34.6% of Americans who have tried Click and Collect, half of them (49%) tried it for the first time in 2015. As CNBC concluded, “Like it or not, ‘click and collect’ is here to stay“.

 

Although two-thirds of America have yet to try this type of service, its staying power is clear because those who use it, love it. Fifty-four percent of shoppers who have used this service, used it during the 2015 holiday season. Along the same lines, 95% of shoppers who used this service during their 2015 holiday shopping indicated that they were very likely to use it again for their 2016 holiday shopping (vs. only 1.6% who said they would be unlikely to do so again).

 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the overall satisfaction ratings on the service are strong. Jaron Waldman, CEO of San Francisco based Curbside, a click and collect app, tells us that across his clients (which include the likes of Target, Best Buy, CVS and Sephora) “56% of people who try it come back and order again”. He also pointed out that many of the shoppers on the Curbside app are also members of Amazon Prime, but they “like the flexibility of picking it up when and where they want, in under an hour”.

When asked about the reasons why they chose Click and Collect for their purchase, one word really stood out among our survey respondents open-ended answers: convenience.

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“Cheaper than shipping it to my house” – Ann from Cincinnati

“Easier and then I was guaranteed to get the item I wanted without any hassle” – Jessica from Tulsa

“Faster than having it shipped to the house but still able to get the online deals.” – Chris from Seattle

 

Even though love is in the air, the Click and Collect trend is still far away from completely replacing regular grocery shopping trips. More than half of all respondents who used Click and Collect throughout 2015 reported only using it between two and five times when, on average, they do 72 fill-up or stock-up trips over the course of a year.

 

You may be asking yourself: Who are the retailers capitalizing on the trend? Topping the list with a commanding lead was Walmart (where 69% of respondents indicated they’ve used Click and Collect service, followed by Target (34%), Kohl’s (17%), and JC Penney (15%).

 

About the Data:
For this study, we surveyed 1,000 of our panelists who have used a “click and collect” service. InfoScout tracks the purchases of more than 350,000 Americans who report more than 300,000 shopping trips every day through our Receipt Hog, Shoparoo, and Receipt Lottery apps.