Holiday Gift Shoppers Approach the Home Stretch

header-christmas-gifts

It seems like an eternity since holiday displays began to pop up in stores in September, and now we’re finally approaching the last shopping days of the holiday gift shopping season. But how much shopping do people have left? Who’s taking gift shopping down to the wire? Where have people shopped, and where do they plan to shop? Have they made lists and checked them twice? Based on receipt data captured by InfoScout’s proprietary mobile apps, we asked approximately 500 holiday shoppers these and other questions during a survey conducted in early December.

How Much Holiday Gift Shopping Is Left?

When asked how far along they are with their shopping, 40% said more than half of their holiday gift shopping was done. 36% had finished about half or less than half of their shopping, while 7% hadn’t even started at the time of the survey.

68% of shoppers who still have work to do plan to purchase their remaining gifts the week before Christmas. A handful admitted that they won’t be finished by Christmas. 18% of survey respondents had already moved on to the wrapping phase because their holiday shopping was completely done. Nearly half wrapped up their shopping (no pun intended) this month, as 31% finished during the first week of December and 15% made their last holiday gift purchase within 24 hours of our survey.

holiday-shopping-finish2x

Although Black Friday still represents the kickoff to the holiday shopping season in the minds of many households, 32% of survey respondents started their shopping before Black Friday, attracted by the expanding retail early-deal landscape.

Which Retailers Are Winning, and Which Stand to Benefit from Last-minute Shopping?

More holiday gift shopping is taking place online as 79% of surveyed shoppers have done at least half of their shopping online. Just 48% have done at least half of their shopping in-store.

holiday-shopping-online-vs-instore2x

Drilling down a bit deeper into those numbers, 45% of shoppers have made holiday gift purchases from online-only retailers like Amazon. 36% have purchased gifts in a brick-and-mortar Walmart store, followed by the websites of brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart.com, Target.com and BestBuy.com (29%). Target’s physical stores finished a close fourth at 28%.

holiday-shopping-retailers2x

Interestingly, online channels could lose their advantage during the final holiday shopping weeks as those who still have shopping to do plan to split their time almost evenly between online and brick-and-mortar stores. 36% say they’ll do more or most of their remaining shopping in-store compared to 34% who are more likely to shop online.

Online-only retailers such as Amazon will still be the top destination (40%), with Target and Walmart running neck and neck at 27% each. The websites of brick-and-mortar retailers (24%) drop to fourth for last-minute shoppers.

As for Those Lists…

In this age of mobile devices and apps, 44% of shoppers use a written list for the majority of their holiday purchases. In fact, 31% rely on a mental list to guide their gift shopping, compared to 19% who make a digital list and 6% who use a retailer’s wish list.

About the Data

The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by 500 omnichannel shoppers from InfoScout’s consumer purchase panel.

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.

Early Read on Black Friday at Walmart: Which brands made the Top 10 list?

walmart-sign

What do food storage, socks, Legos, and virtual reality headsets have in common? We’re guessing the only thing is appearing on Walmart’s list of top sellers for Black Friday 2016! An early read of 26,000 Walmart receipts from Thanksgiving night through mid-day Black Friday indicates some well-rounded shopping trips that covered everything from household staples to electronics to toys.

About the Data

More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts via InfoScout’s mobile apps. The first 26,000 receipts reported from trips to Walmart on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday were analyzed to provide a quick read on this year’s hottest items based on unit sales.

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.

For more information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com

 

 

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!

Which Olympic Advertisers Experienced the Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat?

The Olympic Games are always remembered for star athletes and memorable performances, and the 2016 Rio Olympics were no exception. Gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky became household names. Swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt added to their legendary Olympic resumes.

Like the Super Bowl, the Olympics are sometimes remembered for the ads and special stories sponsored by major brands. According to AdAge, during the Rio Olympics, brands spent $1.2 billion on sponsorships and advertising, hoping to increase brand awareness, buzz, loyalty and sales.

Some brands struck gold. Others fell far short of their goals. After all, for every Simone Biles who inspires us, there’s a Ryan Lochte who leaves us scratching our heads.

To get a better idea of which Olympic advertisers were the big winners and which ones never approached medal status, InfoScout surveyed nearly 3,000 Olympics viewers. Survey respondents fell into three levels of viewers: heavy (daily or multiple times per day), medium (weekly or multiple times per week) and low (once or twice during the entire Olympic Games). Our goal was to find out how they watched the Olympics, which ads viewers recalled, and the brands they associated with these ads.

Live Broadcast TV Still Rules

The vast majority of all Olympics viewers (86%) watched the Olympics on live TV, and 76% said they watched the Olympics more on live TV than any other medium (recorded TV, recorded online, online streaming, mobile, social media, etc.).

This reinforces the value of TV advertising during live programming such as sports events and awards shows. Viewers want to know what happens in real-time, and fear of missing out is often enough to motivate viewers to sit through ads rather than change the channel.

olympics viewing methods

Brands that Won the Olympic Ad Games

olympics ads and brands that viewers recalled

Procter & Gamble (P&G) struck gold with its “Thank You, Mom” campaign. These ads were most recalled by both heavy viewers (49%) and medium viewers (31%). 59% of viewers associated “Thank You, Mom” ads with P&G. There was one negative for P&G as more than one in five Olympics viewers (21%) associated “Thank You, Mom” ads with Johnson & Johnson, while 9% associated the ads with SC Johnson.

olympics ads brand association - p&g

The next most recalled campaign was the “Breakfast of Champions” campaign from Wheaties, which was recalled by 34% of viewers even though Wheaties was not an Olympics sponsor. These ads featured Olympians but aired outside of Olympics coverage.

The “Hello from Home” campaign from Hershey’s, featuring Simone Biles and Jordan Burroughs, also scored high marks from Olympics viewers. 74% of viewers associated ads featuring Simone Biles with Hershey’s, while ads featuring Jordan Burroughs were associated with Hershey’s by 59% of viewers.

United’s “One Journey, Two Teams” campaign achieved similar success as 70% of all viewers associated the ads with United. However, 9% of viewers associated the ads with AT&T and 8% associated them with Samsung.

Brands that Missed the Mark

Beverage brands seemed to struggle at the Olympics – not because their ads weren’t recalled, but because other brands were getting credit for them. The biggest example of this disconnect occurred with Budweiser’s “America Can” campaign. 33% of all viewers associated these ads with Coca-Cola, a major sponsor, compared to 29% with Budweiser. In fact, brand association was higher with Coca-Cola than Budweiser in all three viewing categories.

olympics ads brand association - budweiser

Oddly enough, Pepsi, which did not sponsor or advertise during any part of the Olympics, was associated with Budweiser’s “America Can” ads by 11% of all viewers.

Coca-Cola also benefited from Gatorade’s “Never Lose the Love” campaign as 30% of all viewers associated those ads with Coca-Cola, compared to just 17% for Gatorade. Other brands associated with Gatorade’s ads include Pepsi (13%), Nestle (11%), Budweiser (10%) and Dr. Pepper (9%).

Samsung’s “The Anthem” campaign was seemingly off-target as more people associated the ads with AT&T (20%) and United Airlines (19%) than Samsung (17%). 13% of all viewers associated Samsung ads with both Toyota and Apple, neither of which advertised during the Olympics.

Brands that Saw Mixed Results

Under Armour’s “Rule Yourself” campaign featuring Michael Phelps did well on the surface as 60% of all viewers associated those ads with Under Armour. However, 25% associated Under Armour ads with Nike. 46% of all viewers associated the “Rule Yourself” ads featuring the women’s gymnastics team with Under Armour, compared to 28% for Nike.

Minute Maid’s “#doingood” campaign featuring Missy Franklin experienced similar results. Although 28% of all viewers associated the ads with Minute Maid, 16% of viewers associated them with both Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

The “Friends Win Campaign” was a bit of a mixed bag for McDonald’s as 41% of all viewers associated the ads with McDonald’s, far more than any other brand. However, brand association was scattered. Viewers associated these ads with Domino’s (17%), Dunkin Donuts (10%), Starbucks (10%) and Subway (10%), none of which sponsored or advertised during the Olympics.

Stories Can Help Brands Win the Gold in the Next Olympics

Brands that won, with the likes of P&G, Hershey’s and United, focused their messaging around an emotional and inspiring story and less on the brand name or logo.

Let’s take the “Thank You, Mom” campaign from P&G, for instance, and compare against Budweiser.  P&G focused their campaign around the impactful role mothers of Olympians play in their children’s lives, without any focus or representation from P&G’s brand portfolio or the company logo until the very end. Budweiser, on the other hand, focused their campaign around a party atmosphere, with multiple visuals of the actual can and logo, but missed the mark when it came to emotional stories that resonated with viewers, which may have been the reason behind a lower brand association.

In a future post, we’ll dig deeper into the effectiveness of the ad campaign with the highest brand association (P&G’s “Thank You, Mom”), how it resonated with consumers and the impact of the campaign on purchase behavior.