NRF-Holiday-Retail-Sales-Growth-2005-2015-Jan2016Retail sales over the holiday season grew by 3% to $626.1 billion last year, below the forecasted growth rate of 3.7%, reports the NRF, which also noted that non-store holiday sales grew by 9%. Weather, inventory challenges and early-starting discounts contributed to the lower-than-forecast increase, per the report.

Meanwhile, recent figures from Adobe indicate that online sales grew by 12.7% during November and December, exceeding its forecast of 11% growth. Of note, mobile grew to represent half of all traffic during the holiday period, although that growth came exclusively from smartphones (up 9% points to 39%) as tablet traffic declined by 3% points (to 11% share). Still, desktops accounted for the vast majority (73%) of sales.

A previous report from comScore tabbed desktop retail sales growth at 6%, with preliminary figures indicating mobile sales growth of 59% contributing to an overall e-commerce rise of 13%.

For its part, Custora reports e-commerce growth of 12.1% over November and December, with more than 30% of sales being placed on mobile devices. A strong majority (76.9%) of mobile orders were placed on Apple devices. Custora’s figures also indicate that search (organic: 21.5%; paid: 17.7%) drove almost 40% of orders, followed by email marketing (20% share).

Previously Published Holiday Research

About 1 in 10 consumers expect that today (December 23) will be the day when they buy their last holiday gift, per results from the NRF’s last holiday season study. The survey, which was conducted at the beginning of this month, found that another 1 in 8 consumers will finish their shopping later than today, including 5% who will wait until after Christmas Day.

Respondents to the survey estimated having averaged slightly more than half (53.5%) of their shopping during the period when the research was fielded (December 1-9). Among those who had completed less than half of their shopping, the main reasons given were:

  • Still figuring out what to buy (44.8%);
  • Waiting for family member/friends to let them know what they want as gifts (28.8%); and
  • Being busy with other activities that delay/restricting the time for holiday shopping (27.3%).

Slightly more than 1 in 5 respondents in this group also indicated that they are still waiting for the best deals on holiday merchandise.

In other results from the survey:

  • Almost two-thirds of respondents plan to shop retailers’ after-Christmas sales, discounts and promotions, with slightly more planning to do so in-store (47.2%) than online (43.1%);
  • Clothing or clothing accessories have been the most popular gift type so far, purchased by 50.8% of respondents, ahead of toys (34.5%) and books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games (34.1%);
  • Online (50.6%) and department stores (42.2%) are where the largest proportion of respondents plan to do the remainder of their holiday shopping;
  • Slightly more than 1 in 8 (13.7%) of respondents have requested a price match from a retailer while holiday shopping; and
  • About 6 in 10 rate their overall shopping experience this holiday season as “excellent” (21.9%) or “very good” (38.8%).

Cyber Week Recap

Now that Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday are in the rear-view mirror, a number of sales results are coming out. While the exact figures differ from one source to the next, the key trends appear to be: a substantial increase in smartphone traffic; a dip in in-store sales on Black Friday; and Cyber Monday’s e-commerce growth making it the largest e-commerce day yet.

The following recap summarizes the main points from a host of research sources, with links provided for those who would like to explore the data in more detail. (Note that there is a considerable amount of data on leading shopping items, referral sources, etc. from sources such as Adobe Digital Index that are not covered below.)

In-Store Shopping

  • Brick-and-mortar traffic was down by 5.1% from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, reports RetailNext, with net sales contracting by 4.7%. Black Friday traffic and net sales were down by 1.8% and 1.6%, respectively.
  • The numbers coming from ShopperTrak are dimmer: the company says that in-store sales from Wednesday through Saturday were down by 10.4% year-over-year. Thanksgiving Day sales dropped by an estimated 12.5%, while Black Friday sales fell by an estimated 11.9%.
  • The prevailing notion seems to be that in-store sales were down due to increased online shopping, with the NRF reporting that adults were as likely to shop online (42%) on Thanksgiving weekend as they were to shop in stores (41.6%). Among online shoppers, 73% planned to shop on Black Friday, equal to the 73% of in-store shoppers who planned to shop that day.
  • Half of Americans said they shopped on Black Friday, relatively unchanged from last year (49%), according to a survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers, which found that 80% made purchases in-store.

Mobile and Desktop Commerce

  • Online retail sales for Black Friday were up by 21.5% year-over-year, says IBM, with mobile representing a strong majority (57.2%) of site traffic. Reflecting mobile’s relative lag in conversion rates, though, these devices accounted for a smaller share (36.2%) of Black Friday sales. Interestingly, though, average order values were larger on tablets ($136.42) than on desktops ($134.06) for the first time, with smartphones ($121.06) trailing. Even so, smartphones drove a greater share of sales than tablets (20.6% vs. 15.5%), due to their much higher share of traffic (44.7% vs. 12.5%).
  • It was a slightly different story on Cyber Monday, per IBM, which noted that online sales were up by 17.8% over 2014’s results. Smartphone share of traffic grew from 28.5% last year to 36.8% this year, but the tablet share of traffic actually decreased, from 12.5% to 11.1%. Likewise, while smartphones’ share of sales increased from 9.1% to 15.2%, tablet share of sales inched down to 12.4%. And with consumers returning to work, mobile’s share of traffic was 47.9%, a 16.3% increase from last year, but smaller than Black Friday. Also, desktops had the highest average order value ($128) on Cyber Monday, followed closely by tablets ($124.14), with smartphones ($120.02) again trailing.
  • For its part, a Monetate analysis of Black Friday online spending also indicates that while mobile phones are being used to browse (with an 89% year-over-year increase in traffic), the most money was spent on desktops ($141) and tablets ($131).
  • Analysis from Cofactor, meanwhile, indicates a decrease in tablet browsing on Cyber Monday, with an increase in mobile phone browsing.
  • In its recap, Adobe Digital Index finds that mobile’s share of online sales was highest on Thanksgiving Day (37%), with mobile capturing one-third of sales on Black Friday and 26% on Cyber Monday. As with IBM (and ChannelAdvisor), Adobe’s data shows that online sales growth was higher on Thanksgiving (25%) than on Black Friday (14.3%), while it recently announced 16% growth for Cyber Monday. Given that last year’s Cyber Monday was the largest e-commerce day on record, that would by default make this year’s, with its more than $3 billion in online sales, the largest e-commerce day yet.
  • E-commerce sales through Amazon increased by at least 20% year-over-year each day from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, per ChannelAdvisor data. Mobile’s share of traffic was highest on Cyber Saturday (68%), edging Cyber Sunday (66%) and Thanksgiving Day (64%). However, mobile’s share of orders was highest on Thanksgiving Day (46%). HookLogic’s figures show that the largest share of mobile e-commerce traffic occurred at 7AM on Thanksgiving Day (71%), with mobile’s share of traffic (46%) lower on Cyber Monday. Keeping with timing data, a Dashlane analysis of data from purchases made by users of its Digital Wallet suggests that Cyber Monday shopping peaked at about 10AM.
  • It wasn’t just mobile commerce that increased, of course. Indeed, comScore data shows that desktop e-commerce spending increased by 9% year-over-year on Thanksgiving Day, by 10% on Black Friday, and by 12% on Cyber Monday. Each day topped $1 billion in desktop-driven sales. Overall, the comScore data supports the Adobe Digital Index analysis in estimating Cyber Monday e-commerce sales of more than $3 billion. Along with other sources showing that Amazon was the dominant platform, comScore notes that it was the most visited retail property on Cyber Monday (on desktops and mobiles combined), followed by Walmart, eBay, Target and Best Buy. While 35-54-year-olds comprised the largest share of desktop-based spending on Cyber Monday (46.5%), the under-35 bracket represented an outsized share of spending (31.6%) relative to its share of buyers (28.5%). Meanwhile, females accounted for 59% of desktop-based buyers and 61.6% of desktop-based spending on Cyber Monday.
  • Adobe Digital Index data shows that iOS devices far outpaced Android devices in Black Friday mobile commerce, and that’s supported by research from Custora, which revealed that 77% of all Black Friday mobile orders were completed on Apple devices. Monetate data, meanwhile, indicates that on Black Friday, iOS users had higher average order values ($127) than Android users ($111).

Marketing Channels

  • Email marketing had the largest influence on Black Friday e-commerce, notes Custora, with email driving 25.1% of orders compared to 21.1% from organic search and 16.3% from paid search. Social traffic, meanwhile, accounted for just 1.7% of sales.
  • Retailers upped their paid search spending by almost 20% year-over-year on Thanksgiving Day, while Black Friday spending was relatively flat, per Kenshoo. About half of paid search clicks came from smartphones on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.
  • enjoyed the highest share of US Google desktop and tablet text ad clicks for top retail keywords from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, reports AdGooroo, while WalMart topped the list when looking at share of product listing ad clicks.
  • While social media did not drive much in the way of sales, MarketLive merchants saw a 58% increase in social commerce and a 62% increase in social conversion rates on Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday through Sunday).
  • Returning to email, a Bronto analysis of 400 retailers indicates that 7AM was the busiest hour of Black Friday for email activity, with 11% of the day’s email sent during that hour. This year, just 7% of emails on Black Friday were sent prior to 5AM, down from 14% last year. Meanwhile, 18% of Cyber Monday emails were sent between 6 and 8AM, with the busiest hour being 7-8AM (11% of emails).
  • Of note, Sailthru reports that the AOL domain proved to be the most valuable one for retailers on Black Friday, with AOL-based buyers outdoing Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail users in open, click, click-to-open, conversion, average order value, and revenue per thousand emails. Sum it up and the revenue per thousand emails sent (RPM) was about twice as high for emails sent to AOL addresses ($70) than for those sent to the other 3 major domains (~$35).
  • Consumers were using mobile apps to a greater degree this year than last, with Appboy revealing that retail/e-commerce app sessions were 835% higher on Black Friday than the prior Friday. The analysis suggests, however, that customers “are practically done by the time Monday rolls around,” as Cyber Monday e-commerce transactions were higher than pre-Thanksgiving levels, but much lower than Black Friday and even Thanksgiving Day.
  • Flurry by Yahoo has its own analysis of mobile app sessions during Cyber Week, revealing that while US shopping session growth (compared to the week prior) was higher on Saturday, Sunday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday than in previous years, it was down for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping Intentions


Almost 6 in 10 US adults say they either definitely will (28%) or may (30%) shop this Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday through Sunday), with that figure rising to more than three-quarters of 18-24-year-olds (78%) and 25-34-year-olds (77%), per the NRF. Among those adults who plan to or may shop online or in-store this weekend, Black Friday (74%) is the most popular day, followed by Saturday (49%), Sunday (23%) and Thanksgiving (22%).

Meanwhile, asked about their plans for Cyber Monday, about 8 in 10 respondents said they either definitely would or may shop online that day.

The NRF figures are broadly in line with survey results from Deloitte, which found that close to 6 in 10 (57%) of consumers plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, in this case defined as Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Interestingly, the results indicate that shoppers are more apt to shop online on Black Friday (66%) than on Cyber Monday (52%). That’s backed by research from Criteo, which notes that, based on an analysis of Thanksgiving weekend transactions last year, Black Friday may be as big of a day for e-commerce as Cyber Monday for some retailers, particularly pertaining to mobile commerce.

Separate data from Cofactor (previously G/O Digital) also predicts a strong increase in retail traffic from mobile devices this weekend, with its analysis of 30 retailers, 2,100 brands and 35,901 stores indicating that mobile phone visits and tablet visits to leading retailers’ websites were already up by almost 50% year-over-year in October.

Who’s potentially going to benefit most from a surge in mobile traffic? In looking back at the 2014 holiday season, SimilarWeb notes [pdf] that Gap brands (+150.9%) and Best Buy (+117.5%) had the largest single-day increases in mobile web traffic on Thanksgiving Day, while Nike (+76.1%), Zappos (+71.9%) and Wayfair (+63.9%) had the biggest increases on Black Friday. The report also indicates that and together received more than half (51%) of all mobile and desktop web traffic on Cyber Monday, though Newegg (+103.7%) had the biggest boost in mobile web traffic.

The following is a list of data points from other research related to Thanksgiving weekend.

  • Black Friday-related searches are trending up from the year-earlier period, according to [pdf] data from Experian Marketing Services. While only a small percentage (7.9%) of “Black Friday” search clicks were paid during the week ending October 31, that figure is expected to jump significantly, as last year about one-third of clicks were paid during the week of Thanksgiving.
  • Who’s getting those clicks? Data from AdGooroo indicates that has had the highest share of text ad clicks during the October 15-November 15 period, based on an analysis of US Google desktop/tablet text ad clicks for 2,500 retail keywords. Walmart, meanwhile, has had the largest share of product listing ad (PLA) clicks.
  • Sticking with search, a report from Merkle|RKG finds that, 2 weeks ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, retailers have enjoyed a 13% increase in search-generated sales so far in Q4. Interestingly, sales gains from Google PLAs are being boosted by traffic from competitors. Walmart, for example, has seen a significant increase in PLA traffic, some of which can be tied to traffic from Target and Kohl’s.
  • Last year, searches on Google for “gifts and presents” did not spike on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, per Google data, instead growing steadily throughout the holiday season.
  • Most Americans will spend Thanksgiving at home, with that particularly for the case for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, per The Harris Poll. That doesn’t appear to be related to the presence of kids in the household, as adults with and without children in the home are about equally likely to spend Thanksgiving at their home. Thanksgiving is adults’ second-favorite holiday (19%) of the year, behind Christmas (46%), per the survey results.
  • Will consumers shop on Thanksgiving Day? Survey results from ThinkNow Research suggest that Hispanics (49%) are more likely to shop that day than non-Hispanics (39%), perhaps because they’re more apt than non-Hispanics to bring along family members when they do shop.
  • Do consumers care if retailers are open on Thanksgiving Day? Survey results from Vennli indicate that only about 1 in 8 shoppers care whether a retailer is open on Thanksgiving Day when they decide where to do their holiday shopping. However, results from a Lab42 survey of adults who plan to purchase gifts this holiday season reveal that 70% believe that stores should be closed on Thanksgiving Day. And other results from the afore-mentioned Deloitte survey indicate that a majority (56%) of consumers feel more loyal to retailers that close on Thanksgiving Day, and that half of respondents will hold out and shop at their favorite retailer on another day if it’s not open on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday.
  • Separate results from the Vennli survey indicate that 11% of holiday shoppers say they do most of their shopping on Black Friday. Of these, more than 8 in 10 plan to shop at Walmart, while 71% will shop at Best Buy or Target. Electronics (73%) and clothing (66%) are the top purchased planned by these Black Friday shoppers.
  • Consumers who wait until the week (or day) of Black Friday or Cyber Monday to shop expect to spend less than shoppers who start making plans at least 1-2 months in advance, says Rocket Fuel in releasing its own survey results.
  • “Door-Buster Deals” remain a major factor for half of consumers when deciding when to shop for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday, finds JDA in a survey of more than 1,000 US consumers.
  • Not all spending this weekend will be for holiday gifts, reports the International Council for Shopping Centers (ICSC). In fact, shoppers estimate that 40% of their spending planned for the Thanksgiving weekend are not intended as holiday gifts. Compared to the survey fielded a month earlier (in October), more respondents intend to shop on Black Friday (41% vs. 36%), Saturday and/or Sunday (30% vs. 23%) and Thanksgiving Day (15% vs. 11%). The youngest age groups are the most likely to shop this weekend, including the youngest bracket on Black Friday. That is supported by research from Boston Consulting Group, which finds Millennials (63%) more likely to expect to shop on Black Friday than Gen Xers (48%) and Baby Boomers (26%).
  • This is a big weekend for holiday sales, but it might be less so than last year, according to data from Cardlytics [pdf], which finds that consumers are procrastinating more, spending more of their holiday budgets closer to Christmas day.

Prior Holiday 2015 Research

Below is a list of research and data surrounding the holiday season that was originally published in early November.


The holiday season is here, which means (among other things) that a plethora of studies are being released surrounding spending trends, retail destinations and shopping attitudes. This article (which will be updated periodically during the holiday period) highlights key points from holiday-related research for what appears to be a fairly bright season in terms of spending.

[Editor’s Note: Unlike holiday data hubs from years past (including this one), this year’s version will not break the findings out by category (such as popular gifts, destinations, etc.). Instead, this article will highlight a couple of unique findings from each piece of research, loosely lumped together by category. Readers interested in more data are encouraged to follow the links provided to access the studies.]

Before getting to the list of interesting findings from the body of research that’s been released so far, it’s worth taking a look at the broad forecast for this holiday season:

For their part, CMOs responding to a BDO USA survey are expecting a 4.2% increase in overall holiday store sales, a slightly higher forecast than gathered last year (4.1%).

But wait – ditch the forecast? PwC says that spending forecasts aren’t as relevant as a deeper understanding of the retail landscape and a focus on distinct consumer segments.

The following list highlights key points from the studies cited above – along with several others. It’s worth noting that for the most part, these studies indicate that consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier, and that e-commerce will be a larger factor this year. As such, those findings will be largely omitted from the following list, with some exceptions.

  • Almost half – 46.1% – of all holiday shopping will be conducted online, says the NRF, with this being the highest level on record since the NRF first asked the question in 2006. Overall, per-person spending is expected to reach $805.65, up slightly from last year’s $802.45. Free shipping/shipping promotions will be an important factor for close to half (47%) of holiday shoppers’ decisions on where to shop. (More results here.)
  • Results from a Pitney Bowes survey support the consumer emphasis on shipping, with 93% of respondents indicating that shipping options will be an important factor in their overall shopping experience. Of note, free shipping with a 5-7 day delivery is more appealing than paying for a 1-2 day delivery for 88% of respondents. Further, six in 10 have increased their online spending in the past so as to qualify for free shipping. (More details here.)
  • Almost 9 in 10 consumers disagree with the sentiment that gifts bought online are not as heartfelt and sincere as those bought in a physical store, per a LoyaltyOne survey. Separately, respondents were considerably more likely to show comfort with traditional shipping methods (55%) as opposed to drone delivery, if it were available (22%). More than two-thirds said they’d cancel an order and place the buy with an online competitor if a retailer couldn’t guarantee the delivery date of an online purchase. (More results are available here.)
  • More than 1 in 3 consumers in the US plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping online, says the Rubicon Project, and these shoppers expect to spend 20% more than those who plan to do most of their holiday shopping in-store. (More results are available here.)
  • The NPD Group, which also sees an increase in e-commerce (and an early start to shopping, with half starting before Thanksgiving weekend), indicates that several categories – clothing, food/beverages, books, movies/DVDs, video gaming systems/video games, small personal accessories, and smartphones – have seen an increase in buying intent among consumers this year. (More data can be found here.)
  • Six in 10 retailers in the US and UK planned to start their holiday shopping promotions in September or even sooner, according to a survey from ChannelAdvisor, while AdGooroo notes that paid search spending for Black Friday began “in earnest” the week of September 27. Fulfillment emerges as the largest challenge for retailers surveyed by ChannelAdvisor, though converting mobile traffic is also a key challenge. Meanwhile, Amazon Product Ads and Sponsored Links are the digital marketing channel providing the most ROI, per the respondents. (The study can be downloaded here.)
  • Who’s most likely to have been shopping early? According to Nielsen, that distinction belongs to families, higher-income households, and Millennials. (More details here.)
  • Santa will be a draw for physical stores this year, per the ICSC, which notes in its survey that half of adults will children under the age of 13 plan to see Santa at a shopping center this season. (More data here.)
  • A SessionM survey of mobile owners indicates that only 26% of customers will be loyal to their regular retailer during the holidays, with shopping destinations influenced by factors including pricing, sales and promotions (71%) and product quality (51%). As for mobile? The top reasons given for shopping on mobile devices are avoiding long lines and the ability to make purchases while on-the-go or at home. (The study can be downloaded here.)
  • Sticking with mobile, a GPShopper/comScore survey of mobile shoppers (those US adults who use their smartphones to shop) indicates that app/site features that will see the broadest use this holiday season are: mobile coupons (49%); customer reviews (46%); loyalty account (37%); and store locator (35%). (Further details can be found here.)
  • With the increases in mobile shopping expected this year, Experian Marketing Services (EMS) projects a record number of mobile visits to retail sites, with baby product, health and beauty, and intimate apparel and accessories expected to be the sub-industries with the largest share of mobile visits. (More highlights from EMS are available here.)
  • About two-thirds of consumers expect to use mobile devices while shopping in-store, per a Kelly Scott Madison (KSM) survey, with this figure higher among African-Americans (73%), Hispanics (83%) and Millennials (87%). (The full report can be accessed here [pdf].)
  • A ShareThis study of pre-holiday shopper sentiments on social media suggests that the most social shares have been for the home & garden and consumer electronics categories, followed by apparel and toys and games. Interestingly, the study notes that “Boomers tend to drive conversations around consumer electronics and are on the higher end of the income spectrum.” (More details are available here.)
  • Keeping with social media, Pinterest says that 43% of holiday pins are from Millennials. The platform notes that after Black Friday, shoppers typically pin apparel, jewelry, games and gadgets. (More details here.)
  • A Campaigner survey of internet retailers reveals that most (59%) are not yet implementing any type of direct-buy buttons in their emails or social platforms. Among those that are, two-thirds are doing so via email, with a majority (54%) also offering the buttons via Facebook. Meanwhile, the top content strategies for internet retailers this year are a focus on informational content (28%) and promotional content (26%). (More survey results here.)
  • Two-thirds of retail CMOs believe that consumer electronics will be their top-performing product category, per BDO USA, with about half also expecting that this will be their most discounted category. (Further results here.)
  • The CEA is projecting a 2.3% increase in spending on consumer electronics, with 65% of holiday shoppers expecting to buy a device this holiday season. TVs are the tech product that US consumers most want to receive as a gift, followed by tablets and smartphones. Notably, one-third of consumers plan to buy a new, emerging technology product this season, with the most popular being smart home devices (15%), wearable fitness activity trackers (12%), smart watches (12%) and action cameras (12%). (More details from the CEA study can be found here.)
  • Buying online and picking up in-store appears to be a key trend this holiday season (as identified in the NRF survey), and an Accenture study suggests that two-thirds of consumers who engage in this activity will likely buy additional items during their store visit. In other results from the Accenture survey, in-store promotions (55%) and digital coupons (54%) are the factors most likely to enhance the in-store shopping experience, followed by self-service pay options (47%). (More survey results can be found here.)
  • The quality of the website experience is as important as the physical store experience to shoppers this year, with about half considering each of these when choosing a retailer, according to a study from MarketLive. The survey also finds enthusiasm for personalized product recommendations and mobile alerts. (Further results are available here.)
  • Gift cards remain a popular gift across studies, with the Brand Keys study being very buoyant on this front, indicating that virtually all (96% of) holiday shoppers will purchase one this year. (More details here [pdf].)
  • Roughly 1 in 6 consumers (16%) plan to give homemade or craft items this year, such as an Etsy purchase, per Deloitte’s survey results. While this is on the lower end of the buying spectrum, it’s a trend worth keeping an eye on, Deloitte says. (Further results from Deloitte’s survey are available here.)
  • Cyber Monday will be a more popular day for shopping than Black Friday, reports Morpace Omnibus in its survey results, and Adobe Digital Index expects Cyber Monday ($3 billion) to top Black Friday ($2.7 billion) as the biggest online shopping day of the year. For its part, ShopperTrak expects Black Friday to be the day with the greater number of shopper visits and sales, followed in each case by Super Saturday (December 19). As for Black Friday, Yesmail recommends sending emails on the Monday and Tuesday preceding it, as those had the highest open rates last year for Black Friday-themed emails. (The Yesmail report can be downloaded here.)
  • TV ads (22% share of respondents) and emails sent directly from brands (22%) will be the advertising types most likely to influence the types of gifts shoppers will buy this season, per Epsilon, with newspaper ads (19%) and ads received by mail (12%) also key influencers. Almost 8 in 10 respondents reported belonging to a reward/loyalty program, and about three-quarters are more likely to shop at stores where they will get points or rewards. (More details here [pdf].)
  • Also on the topic of advertising, more consumers expect to use TV ads and catalogs than social media sites and mobile phone apps to learn more about a product before making a purchase this holiday season, finds the NPD Group. The largest proportion, however, will conduct online research and read consumer reviews before buying. Not surprisingly, all digital forms of research are up this year. (Additional results can be found here.)
  • When it comes to the selection of retailers for in-store shopping, though, the KSM survey referenced above indicates that store circular ads and email ads/coupons will have the most influence on shoppers. These will also have the largest influence on the websites shoppers use, though in reverse order.
  • A report from the Shullman Research Center and Kantar Media indicates that, based on 7 leading luxury retailers tracked, the largest share of their holiday advertising dollars last year was spent on newspaper ads (37%), followed by magazine (34%) and digital (28%) ads. These retailers saved the largest chunk (63%) of their holiday spending for after Thanksgiving Week. Separately, the Shullman Research Center finds that luxury buyers are less likely to recall seeing advertising in the past 30 days on TV than all holiday shoppers (perhaps as a result of TV not being a significant advertising vehicle for luxury retailers?). Finally, the most recent monthly report from the Shullman Research Center indicates that Millennials are at the forefront of luxury shopping this year; while they comprise fewer than one-third of all US adults, they represent more than half of all luxury shoppers this year. (The study can be downloaded here.)

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