Internet-based gift research is the norm, with a helping hand from mobile devices
Hollywood may portray holiday shoppers as relentlessly harried, but in Germany Christmas shopping still sparks more positive than negative associations, according to a May 2016 survey conducted by TNS Infratest for Google.
When researchers polled internet users in Germany ages 16 and older who had bought at least one Christmas gift from selected product categories in 2015, they found seven in 10 respondents enjoyed giving presents during the holiday, and 41% said buying Christmas items was fun; fewer than 30% said it was time-consuming or stressful.
It’s likely some of those shoppers have already begun the hunt for this year’s Christmas gifts. In 2015, some respondents began preparations as early as August, TNS Infratest found, though actual buying tended to start in October and peaked in mid-December.
Of course, the internet makes preparation pretty easy. Some 82% of those polled said they researched digitally before buying Christmas gifts. Search engines and retail websites or apps were the most common sources of information, mentioned by 69% and 37%, respectively.
Of the shoppers who researched digitally, 48% said they bought that way as well. Moreover, they didn’t dither—shoppers used, on average, just 2.7 sources of information before deciding what to buy, suggesting that most were confident they knew the best places to learn about products and find good deals. In 2015, the most widely gifted items were health and beauty products, books, and toys/games (including computer games), in that order.
Mobile devices had already become a vital part of the holiday shopping research process for most respondents, TNS Infratest found. Three in five (59%) respondents said they used their smartphones to search the internet for gifts in 2015. But transactions were almost always carried out on a PC—95% of digital buyers used a desktop, laptop or tablet last year, compared with just 4% who used a phone.