It seems some holiday shoppers will begin early, and others will wait until the last minute. About 35% of consumers reported they would start their holiday shopping early, while another 32% said they will not begin until December, according to CPC Strategy's 2017 U.S. Holiday Shopping Forecast.
“More shoppers expect deals far before Black Friday or late in December. Fast and free shipping is now the baseline. The truth is, retailers and brands can't afford to rely on the tactics they've used every year. Amazon has completely changed consumer expectations, for better or for worse," said Rick Backus, CEO and co-founder of CPC Strategy.
Amazon's Prime Day could be one of the reasons why so many shoppers are stocking up on gifts well before the holiday season, as sales this past July grew more than 50%. And Amazon's hold on e-commerce does not stop there: 32% of shoppers price check on Amazon while in a store and 72% will look for holiday gifts this year on the marketplace.
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How will consumers decide where to shop? Almost half, 46.1%, cited overall price (including shipping) as the most important factor when choosing a retailer. And 46% will shop at a specialty retailer that caters to a specific demographic.
But shopping won't be limited to a brand's online or offline brand. While 60.4% of shoppers plan to shop in-store at Walmart, Target or other big-box retailers, 38.6% will shop those same stores online. Women were more likely to shop at big-box stores than men, 67%, and the ages of these shoppers were typically more than 45.
Men's top choice for shopping was Amazon, 76%.
The younger shoppers, ages 18 to 34, were the most likely of all demographics to shop on Etsy.
But if what shoppers are planning holds true, retailers could have a bright fourth quarter. About 15% said they actually plan to spend more on gifts in 2017 than in 2016, with almost 27% planning to spend between $500 and $1000.
However, 23% of younger shoppers said they were planning to spend more this year, but almost 80% of shoppers ages 55 to 64 plan to spend the same amount on gifts as in 2016.
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In addition, the study found that while Amazon remains the most popular site for price checking, more than 23% of consumers said they will be checking Google as well. Similar to the earlier stats about female and male shoppers, women are more likely to check prices on Walmart.com and Target.com (13%), while men are more likely to turn to Amazon.com (36%).
Finally, while price was a huge factor for all demographics, 18- to 24-year-olds were the least likely out of all age groups to select overall price as a reason to purchase gifts from a particular retailer. Instead, 23% of this age group emphasized brand quality and 10% placed weight on recommendations.