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Data from CFI Group's "2014 Holiday Retail Spending Report" echoes some marketers' biggest concerns: Mobile and online engagement may make or break retailers' profits this holiday season.
As shoppers continue to work smarter with smaller budgets, they plan to turn to discounts and promotions on the biggest shopping weekend of the year to make sure gift-giving doesn't break the bank. The survey of 1,000 US consumers showed they will have their mobile devices all but glued to their hands to help hunt for those deals, as they lean on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to stock up while prices stay low.
According to CFI Group, shoppers are planning on spending less money this year and purchasing for fewer people, continuing to tighten purse strings in a still-tepid economy. But this year, more shoppers will spend the lion's share of their holiday gift budget during opening weekend, at Black Friday and Cyber Monday events. By the numbers, one in three consumers said they would spend over half of their total budgets between November 28 and December 1, up 27% over the same weekend in 2013. Six in 10 shoppers expect they will finish their holiday gift shopping by early to mid-December.
eMarketer also estimates that, on the whole, retail sales will increase 5% in the 2014 holiday season, an improvement over last year's growth of 3.4%. But shoppers will be more selective this year: 44% of people will buy gifts for more than seven people in 2014, down from 49% last year—and the number of people who buy gifts for only one to three close relatives or friends will increase. The total dollar amount will stay low as well: Only one in five plan to spend more than $700 on gifts.
Millennials will carry more weight than usual. Only 27% of the total sample surveyed said they would spend more money on gifts this year than they did last year. But 48% of 18- to 24-year-olds expected to spend more, and 43% of 25- to 34-year-olds said the same. That said, their baskets will still be smaller than average. Just 15% of them will shell out more than $700 for holiday gifts.
As shoppers age into the bracket of those with young families, discounts and deals dictate their holiday shopping habits more. Forty percent of 25- to 34-year-olds will be motivated most by sales and coupons, compared to just 29% of the population on the whole.
With discounts and deals top of mind, research-savvy shoppers will use mobile devices to find the best promotions for the season. Nearly 60% of shoppers with smartphones will rely on them in-store—for showrooming purposes or otherwise. For marketers, this should indicate a tipping point for investment in mobile technologies that lubricate sales processes for holiday shoppers.
eMarketer's Yory Wurmser anticipates that retailers will expand their mobile offerings to complement in-store purchase, expanding visual search programs, local search and beacons to turn mobile devices into a powerful shopping sidekick. Let's just hope they get it done by Black Friday.
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