Holiday 2019 shopping report: Which holiday deals worked best?

by Scott Spivack • ,

The 2019 holiday season has wrapped, and for the majority of consumers, special deals and discounts were an essential part of their shopping experience.

From late November through December, aggressive holiday promotions were everywhere. Out of the 75,000+ online buyers we surveyed, 73% said they took advantage of a special deal or discount when making their purchase. Yet only 36% responded that they actually spent time searching for them – an indication of how widely available they truly were.

Did you look for or try to find a special deal to use for today’s purchase?

Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, December 2019.

But were consumers happy with the deals they received? To find out, we surveyed our network of online shoppers and asked them what their most wanted categories of deals were this holiday season. We then compared them to the deals they were actually able to use.

Certain promotions proved to be more popular than others. The most wanted deal among consumers was a discount on a total order, either as a percentage off or as a total dollar amount. For the most part, retailers lived up to this expectation; out of 47% of consumers who were looking for a discount, 44% found a retailer that offered one.

On the other hand, free gifts with a purchase and discounted shipping costs were the least wanted deals, with only 16% of consumers hoping to find them.

Which types of special deals did you hope to find for today’s purchase?

Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, December 2019.

One area where retailers may be coming up short is in the lack of free shipping offers during the holiday season. Only 19% of the shoppers we surveyed took advantage of no-strings-attached free shipping, despite 36% listing it as an option they had hoped to find.

In general, most eCommerce retailers tend to offer free shipping only if a minimum order threshold is met, even during the holiday season. While this can help save on fulfillment costs and upsell, it’s also less popular among shoppers – something retailers should take note of.

The impetus to meet customer expectations has never been higher. Online retailers not only face competition from other digital brands, but brick-and-mortar stores as well. While 84% of shoppers in 2016 told us they prefer to purchase their items online rather than in-store, that number had dropped to 79% in 2019.

This is an indication that customer sentiment is shifting back towards physical stores. The rise of omnichannel offerings like BOPIS and the transformation of the brick-and-mortar experience to to deliver unique experiences is driving this change. Unless eCommerce retailers are able to clearly monitor the constantly evolving expectations of their customers they risk losing them altogether.

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