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Study: Holiday shipping costs and online security top of mind for shoppers


New York -- A 2014 Kelly Scott Madison Holiday Shopping Study revealed that the top concerns for consumers this holiday season are shipping costs and online security, as 71% of respondents ranked both as top-of-mind.

Other findings focused on timing and returns:

• Respondents plan to increase their shopping activity on Cyber Monday this year, with data showing a predicted increase of 19% over 2013. Two weeks before Christmas and Black Friday took the second and third most popular spots in 2013 respectively. However, 2014 predictions show a 40% decrease in the amount of shoppers planning to buy gifts two weeks before Christmas.

• More shoppers claim they are likely to return items purchased through brick-and-mortar locations (87%) as opposed to items bought online (63.5%). Also, the rate of respondents claiming they’ve never returned an item more than doubles when comparing in-store purchase and returns (13% “never”) to online purchase and returns (37.5 % “never”).

This fact is especially interesting when considering that 55% of respondents listed their top reasoning for shopping at brick-and-mortar stores as the ability to tangibly feel the product they're about to purchase. Apparently shoppers are now either purchasing more items online that they’re confident they will keep, or the simple hassle of return shipping or finding a nearby store location for an online purchase is too much.

Emotions will come into play this holiday season. According to the survey findings, more shoppers are reacting positively (45%) than negatively (37%) toward the lengthening holiday season (Thanksgiving hours, earlier inventory swapping, etc.), with 18% feeling indifferent.

A whopping 83% of respondents feel that physical stores have become too crowded during the holidays, yet just 49% are convinced that online deals offer better value than in-store.

As far as the outlook for 2014 shopping: 71% of shoppers say they’re likely to increase their online holiday shopping this year, but are still showing cautious levels of confidence (10% extremely likely, 19% very likely and 42% somewhat likely).
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