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2015 Holiday Shopping Trends - How Your Customers Will Be Shopping This Year

Posted by Bryan Wang
With omni-channel shopping, competition from online retailers and an increased emphasis on saving, attracting holiday shoppers is more complex than ever. 

Here are predicted trends for 2015 holiday shopping based on how consumers behaved in past years. These are the ways in which consumers will most likely interact with your brand this holiday shopping season!

Use these insights to shape your holiday retailing strategy this year!

Online Research

The first point of contact a potential customer will have with you won’t be via your sales associates this holiday season.  Consumers will interact with your brand via your online presence – whether it is through reviews, social media accounts or your actual website. 78% of consumers used the Internet to research holiday purchases last year. Compare this to only 29% who asked friends, family or colleagues for recommendations or reviews of potential gift items. 

This season connect the in-store and mobile shopping experiences for your customers. Make it simple for customers to do online research and get products bought shipped home easily from stores.

Also try and gather customer data which can be gleaned by your website analytics. Segment customers to understand who wants what, when and then use this data to give targeted offers and create effective marketing strategies. 

Small Screens Equal Big Money

More and more shoppers are turning to their smartphones or tablets to shop for holiday gifts. Recently 53% of those who shopped online used smartphones or tablets, up 41% from the previous year. In fact last year $1 trillion worth of retail sales were influenced by shopping related mobile searches. Mobile shopping would be even more popular according to consumers if certain factors are addressed. 

58% of shoppers stated that they would buy gifts from their mobile device more frequently if there were increased security around purchasing and billing. 56% said they would increase their mobile shopping if it were easier to see products they were browsing on their mobile screen and 49% said they would increase their mobile shopping if it were easier to enter information like their credit card details and address on their mobile device. 47% said their mobile shopping would increase if they could experience the product similar to if they were buying it in person. 

Be sure to have your website optimized for mobile browsing and have an easy check out process with a streamlined shopping cart which is easy to use from a smartphone or tablet to increase your chances of making 2015 holiday sales. 

Early Purchasing

Last year holiday shopping began long before Black Friday. Rather than wait for a single sale-day, people started shopping before Halloween and nearly half did most of their shopping on or prior to Cyber Monday. Expect this trend to continue with 57% of consumers stating that merchants should start holiday promotions earlier this year to catch their attention. 

Brick and Mortar Matters

Despite strong growth for mobile device shopping many consumers still plan on making in-store purchases. However this is after they have researched product information via a desktop website and mobile device so do not disregard the importance of online product browsing. However consumers often still go into a brick and mortar location to make their final purchase. In fact in 2014 $616 billion total holiday retail sales were from brick and mortar purchases.

Use in-store visits as a chance to foster brand loyalty through great customer service which provides a personalized experience. 54% of shoppers state that they would like a personalized shopping experience. Use a data-centric loyalty program which lets you identify customers’ shopping patterns and preferences and provide them with tailored recommendations. 

Demand for Gift Cards and E-Gift Cards Grows

Last minute shoppers and prepared shoppers alike will be looking for gift cards this season. Gift cards take the guess work out of gift giving letting the buyer give a gift that works irrespective of the recipient's schedule, clothing size or varying desires. In fact 89% of shoppers have stated that they do not need a special sale or promotion to prompt them to buy a gift card this year. In addition 73% of holiday shoppers who buy a gift card also buy something from that retailer for themselves. Also three fourths of consumers plan to give more than one gift card this holiday season.

Beyond this last minute shoppers will want e-gift cards. 67% of total sales in gift cards in December 2014 were e-gift cards (compared to 57% in 2013). 50% of consumers now know how to redeem an e-gift card and only 29% state they’ve never used one. Additionally a third of consumers are ‘very comfortable’ using e-gift cards. 

Many merchants will be using gift cards as a part of their holiday retailing strategy from 2015 and onward.

Expect to see these holiday shopping trends dominate in 2015! 

Topics: Gift Cards, Loyalty