Holiday 2019 shopping behavior: four key takeaways

by Scott Spivack • ,

The holidays may have just ended, but retail brands are already applying the lessons they’ve learned to gain an edge in 2020.

Bizrate Insights surveyed shoppers throughout December. Here are a few surprising trends that every ecommerce business should know:

Online shoppers are using fewer tablets and desktops

2019 was the year where smartphones overtook desktop computers as consumers’ device of choice. 70% of all ecommerce shoppers used their phone to make a holiday purchase, a sign that a mobile-first retail world has finally arrived.

But while smartphones have become key to the future of ecommerce, tablets are quickly becoming obsolete. Tablet usage fell to 22% this year, a 9% drop since 2015 Desktops and laptops saw an even more significant drop, from 78% usage among shoppers to 53% in just four years.

People buy things online for the price, not just the convenience

Is ecommerce only growing because it’s more convenient than driving to a brick-and-mortar store? Our survey results indicate that this may not be case.

In fact, many shoppers choose to buy online thanks to the wide availability of special deals and discounts that are more difficult to find at local shops. 73% of consumers who made an online purchase said they did so because they found a better deal than if they had bought something in-store.

Email marketing is still the best way for retailers to reach customers

When asked how they had heard about a special deal that led to a purchase, nearly half of all survey respondents (49%) said it was because they received an email from that brand.

Mobile phones also show growing promise as a marketing channel. 22% of consumers reported learning about a sale via their phone, compared to 15% three years ago.

Customers love deals more than ever

 While price point isn’t the only deciding factor for consumers, deals and discounts still matter. When asked to describe their feelings about holiday deals, promotions and specials:

  • 30% responded “the more, the merrier”
  • 17% said they will only purchase an item if it’s on sale
  • 12% said that taking advantage of deals and promotions were more important to them than in previous years.

In other words, 59% of shoppers say that deals and promotions make them more likely to buy. That doesn’t mean that retailers should focus on having only the lowest price possible: while a special deal may lead to a first-time purchase, the overall customer experience is what that first-time shopper will remember – and ultimately, what will make them decide to come back.

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