Don’t Ignore the Store, Even as Online Holiday Sales Continue to Soar

In 2014, according to comScore, there were $2 billion in sales on Cyber Monday, alone, which represented an increase of 17% year over year from 2013. Additionally online sales were up 24% YOY between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

And finally, overall for the 2014 holiday shopping season, online sales amounted to $26.7 billion, up 16% from the previous year.

Clearly, when it comes to holiday shoppers all retailers need to concern themselves with is online, right?

I mean, no one shops in-store around the holidays anymore after all.

Hold That Thought

In the fall of 2014, Oracle Marketing Cloud, in partnership with Edison Research, began a multiphase study to examine the habits of holiday shoppers. And unlike previous snapshot studies of consumer intent or self-reported behavior, the project involved both quantitative and qualitative studies of the same sample of consumers during two distinct time periods:

  • October: When consumers are generally in the planning stages.
  • Mid-December: When consumers have either largely finished or are still actively engaged in holiday shopping.

We then applied those findings, added in some specific ways to learn from past behavior and spending habits – and put it all together in one gift-wrapped eBook entitled Turning 2014's Holiday Trends into 2015 Revenue.

Take a look at this video, which is part of the qualitative aspect. You'll see a trend developing quite quickly in terms of what holiday shoppers said they would do in October vs. what they actually did, Mid-December.

The trend is reminiscent of the classic line "best laid plans often go awry" isn't it? Clearly these consumers had every intention of doing a sizable amount of their holiday shopping online yet when push came to present, as it were – they reverted to the old stand by of going to a retail location.

Ok, so perhaps you're thinking "That's great but that's a small sampling you showed me. What did the quantitative results show?"

Glad you asked, Sparky.

Turns out the qualitative portion of the study was even more pronounced as survey respondents said right from the jump they planned to spend more in-store than online.

To take it even a step further, the closer you get to Christmas, the more likely consumers will shop in-store.

Behavior & Emotion

Ok so now we have a glimpse into the mind of holiday shoppers as it relates to online vs. in-store. They key next is to get into a consumer’s frame of mind during the holiday season.

“As a marketer it’s your job to find a way to tie your products to what your customers care about—and to start to think about all of these different ways that people are purchasing such as when they’re purchasing, and where they’re purchasing,” says Wacarra Yeomans, Vice President, Creative Services, Oracle Marketing Cloud.

To see just how behavior and emotion plays a role and how to then create messaging strategies to reach your customers and prospects this holiday season be sure to download Turning 2014's Holiday Trends into 2015 Revenue.

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