Online holiday shoppers are younger, more price-sensitive

The majority of U.S. shoppers plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping this year online. But retailers know that not all shoppers are created equal, and new research highlights some of the differences.

Heavy online shoppers tend to skew younger, are more affluent, and are more likely to have children, according to the CivicScience Insight Report that asked 2,500 consumers in late September to mid-October about their holiday spending plans.

Roughly 13 percent said they planned to spend more this holiday while more than double that (28 percent) plan to spend less. Those planning to spend less are more likely to shop online.

Those intending to spend less are 21 percent more likely to do 25 to 75 percent of their holiday shopping online, and are 33 percent more likely to always seek out online reviews before making purchases.

This group breaks down evenly along gender lines. Roughly 44 percent are between 25 and 44 years old (26 percent higher than the average population), and 52 percent of heavy online shoppers have a household income over $75,000. They are also more likely to have a higher education than average, according to the report.

Despite the higher income level, this group of heavy online shoppers is also quite price sensitive, perhaps due to their age and presence of young children in the household, according to CivicScience. These are predominately young families, new to salaried jobs, and feeling the financial pinch of starting out.

They are also heavy users of mobile devices. Approximately 78 percent use a smartphone and are more likely to use their smartphone during their path to purchase, particularly for product research.

Mobile apps matter to this group—33 percent said mobile phone or tablet apps are important or "a passion."

The message for retailers this holiday season may well be to use personalization tools that target shoppers with promotions tailored to the different channels, whether online or via in-app messaging. 

For more:
-See this CivicScience report

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