Holiday Highlights: Spending Tallies, Consumer Behavior, and More

December 20, 2012

comScore-Season-to-Date-Retail-E-Commerce-Spending-2012-v-2011-Dec2012If there was ever any indication that the holiday period is in full, unfettered swing (aside from today’s date), it would be the latest figures from comScore, which show $35 billion in retail e-commerce spending for the season-to-date, including the first $7 billion online spending week, from December 10-16. That includes 4 individual days during that week with more than $1 billion in spend, led by Green Monday’s almost $1.3 billion in sales.

Figures from the Chase Holiday Pulse show a similarly high level of activity during the so-called “Green Week” (Dec. 10-16). Those results, based on aggregated processing data from 50 of Chase Paymentech’s largest US e-commerce merchants, show that Green Week was the busiest online shopping week of the season, with 1.3% more transactions than even Cyber Week (November 26 – December 2). Even so, the Chase data puts Green Week’s sales volume slightly (0.9%) below Cyber Week’s tally.

Holiday Highlights from the Research Pile

Obviously, given the importance of the holiday season to the retail year, the amount of research being released has been weighty. Below is a list of interesting points from studies released this month (in reverse chronological order) and not covered elsewhere on MarketingCharts, with a link to each source for additional results, and the date of release.

Shopping Destinations (including online, mobile commerce)

  • Mobile devices will affect the shopping experience for 87% of US adults. Source: Mobile Marketing Association and Sybase 365, reported by Mobile Commerce Daily. Date: 12/19. For more on mobile shopping this holiday season, see here.
  • For the week ending December 15, 57% of consumers shopped at a brick-and-mortar store, and 64.5% made a purchase. Source: NPD Group. Date: 12/18
  • During a 10-day period beginning on Thanksgiving Day, 1 in 5 online shopping sessions began on a search engine. Source: RichRelevance. Date: 12/13
  • Online sales generated via rewards-based sites soared by 88% between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Source: Cartera. Date: 12/13
  • Consumers say Apple provides the best mobile shopping experience of various retailers, but Walmart is most popular for browsing and purchases. Source: Mobiquity. Date: 12/12
  • 81% of shoppers prefer to shop through mobile browsers rather than through smartphone and tablet applications this holiday season. Source: BuyVia. Date: 12/11
  • 33% of consumers plan to shop primarily or only in-store, compared to 18% who plan to shop primarily or exclusively online. Source: Ipsos. Date: 12/6
  • Women are more likely than men to be using their mobile devices for a range of activities this holiday season. Source: Prosper Mobile Insights. Date: 12/4

Marketing and Advertising

  • Real-time bidding (RTB), which accounted for 20% of all paid impressions during Q3, jumped during the Thanksgiving holiday week to range from 40 to 45% of all paid impressions (50-65% in the shopping vertical). Source: PubMatic. Date: 12/20
  • Return on ad spend from Facebook ads reached $10.95 on Cyber Monday. Source: Kenshoo Social. Date: 12/13
  • Newspaper ads (43%) are the most popular way for consumers to find deals, ahead of promotional flyers and circulars (38%), TV and radio ads (36%), and email promotions (29%). Groupon (15%) and Facebook (11%) prove less popular. Source: Consumer Reports. Date: 12/6
  • Retail CMOs say that social media represents 10% of their marketing and advertising budgets this holiday season. Print is the top expenditure for 42% of respondents, and broadcast advertising the biggest outlay for 22%. Source: BDO USA. Date: 12/3

Consumer Behavior and Wish Lists

  • 55% of American teens (12-17) only want to receive gifts they’ve identified on a wish list, rather than be surprised. American teens also prefer money over presents. Source: Research Now and K&A Brand Research. Date: 12/19
  • Gift card sales will top $100 billion this year, at $110 billion, as 85% of Americans will exchange them. Source: CEB TowerGroup. Date: 12/17. More on gift card purchases, courtesy of BIGinsight, released here on December 18.
  • December 20 is slated to be the busiest day in UPS’ history, as it expects to deliver 28 million packages. Source: UPS. Date: 12/17
  • As of December 10, consumers had completed an average 57% of their holiday shopping, with clothing the top gift. Source: NRF. Date: 12/13. The same day, Nielsen reported that 54% of consumers had yet to begin their holiday shopping. Source: Nielsen. Date: 12/13
  • US broadband households are more likely to buy a tablet than a laptop this holiday season. The iPad is favored over the Kindle Fire. Source: Parks Associates. Date: 12/13
  • 12% of consumers plan to buy music as a gift this year, and these buyers will up their spend by 18% over last year. Source: NPD Group. Date: 12/10
  • The top tech gadgets mentioned on social media on Cyber Monday were the iPhone, Xbox, and Wii. Source: Compass Labs. Date: 12/10
  • Hannukah shoppers expected to spend $945 this year, 26% more than holiday shoppers in general. Source: BIGinsight. Date: 12/7
  • 2 in 3 holiday shoppers will buy gifts for themselves. Source: Lab42. Date: 12/7
  • Among consumers’ top gift items for the holiday season, fragrance has moved up to the #6 position. Source: NPD Group. Date: 12/6
  • 1 in 4 online Americans are last-minute shoppers, waiting until just days before holiday events to make their purchases. Also, an estimated 8 million admit to forgetting a holiday gift for their parents. Source: CashStar. Date: 12/5

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