Holiday Season Spending Surveys: Consumers React to the Economic Crisis – Plan to Spend Less in Stores but More Online
According to Forrester report – US online retail sales this holiday season is predicted to reach $44 billion, a 12% increase over last year and the slowest growth rate to date. Forrester predicts that the majority of holiday online sales will be driven by shoppers who have previously purchased online, rather than first-time online buyers.
Based on 3000 potential US online shoppers, (collected on September-October 2008) Forrester reports shoppers intentions to shop online:
- 48% of consumers surveyed, compared with 41% in 2007, said they can find the best values and deals online.
- 36% of consumers said they would be more likely to shop online due to high gas prices, compared with 22% who expressed the same sentiment last year.
- Respondents also indicated that they will be seeking free shipping offers more often this year than last: 3 in 4 online shoppers said they prefer to buy from online retailers that offer free shipping, and nearly 6 in 10 said shipping prices deter them from buying online.
The Consumer Internet Barometer presents much similar predictions. In a survey produced by The Conference Board and TNS (conducted on 10,000 US online households) – it was found that online consumers intend to spend less in stores this holiday season than last year, but slightly more online. Backing the findings presented by Forrester – consumers report they will be expecting free shipping and deals not available in stores when they shop online.
In-Store versus Online Spending – by budget:
- Spending budget: $500 and more:
Online households planning to spend more than $500 in stores declined to 16 percent from 21 percent last year. Those planning to spend more than $500 online rose to 5 percent from 4 percent last season.
- Spending budget: $100 – $499:
Those planning to spend between $100 and $499 in stores declined to 57 percent from 61 percent last year, while those planning to spend that amount online edged up to 36 percent from 35 percent last year.
- Spending budget: less than $100:
Online households planning to spend less than $100 in stores increased to 22 percent from 16 percent last year. Those planning to spend that amount online rose to 32 percent from 29 percent.
Shoppers profiled by Online Shopping Habits:
- Self-identified “bargain hunters” account for 44 percent of shoppers who made an online purchase in the past three months, the same as a year ago. Among bargain hunters, men (48%) are more likely than women (41%) to surf the Internet searching for deals.
- “Die-hard Internet shoppers” have increased slightly and represent 17 percent of shoppers.
- “Traditional shoppers”, who occasionally shop online but prefer the familiarity of real stores, account for about 15 percent of online shoppers.
- “Last resort shoppers”, who buy online only when products are unavailable in stores, represent 14 percent of online shoppers (more likely to be women).
- “Hurried shoppers”, who point and click only when pressed for time, represent 10 percent of online shoppers (more likely to be women).
What will motivate Online Spending:
- Free shipping:
Shipping charges, which are the most frustrating aspect of online shopping, tend to frustrate women more than men, 47 percent versus 38 percent respectively.
About 93 percent of women versus 87 percent of men say free shipping would serve as a motivation to spend more online this holiday season.
- Special offers:
More than 71 percent said special offers and deals not available in stores would boost their online spending, with little difference between men and women.
- Coupons and Discounts:
More than 70 percent of women and 68 percent of men said they would be willing to spend more if merchants offered coupons/discounts.
Will US shoppers act as claimed and retain from spontaneous In Store shopping this year? How deep is the perception of the economic crisis and will it really affect the US shoppers?