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08/05/2021

Study: Consumers will shop early this holiday season

Consumers expect safety measures in-store, free shipping online
Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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With 142 days (as of Aug.5) until Christmas, the holiday shopping season is poised to kick off early this year.

In the first holiday shopping survey out of the gate, 22% of consumers said they plan to shop earlier this year, with 25% expecting to do most of their shopping before Thanksgiving and 10% before Halloween. The survey is from shopping rewards app Shopkick. 

Forty-three percent of consumers expect to make the majority of their holiday purchases this year in a physical store — up 9% from last year, according to the survey.  The majority (68%) will visit big-box stores such as Target and Walmart. 

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When it comes to the in-store experience, the ability to try on, touch, and see physical products (70%) and in-person interactions with sales associates (41%) were ranked as most important, followed by product sampling (20%), complimentary gift wrapping (15%), and holiday events such as on-site Santas (13%).

Of all the online perks, 94% of consumers said free shipping is the most crucial incentive for seasonal shopping, followed by fast shipping (60%). Flexible and long return policies (31%), the ability to “buy now, pay later” and BOPIS (19%) were all much less of a priority. 

Other findings from the Shopkick survey are below. 

•    Seasonal Safety: Consumers expect in-store safety measures to continue throughout the holiday season, requesting that retailers offer disinfecting spray (48%), enforce social distancing measures (36%), install plexiglass barriers at checkout (34%). and require employees to wear face coverings (32%).

[Read More: Survey: Consumers expect health and safety to remain priority for retailers]

Consumers will also be prioritizing shopping on less busy days at less busy times (45%) and shopping at one-stop shops to knock a variety of things out in one trip (42%).

•    Amazing Amazon: Fifty-seven percent of consumers expect to make the majority of their holiday purchases online, and Amazon reigns supreme with 73% reporting it will be their primary shopping destination. Outside of Amazon, younger generations (65% of Gen Z and 60% of Millennials) gravitate towards Etsy. 

•    Stealing Deals: Consumers will continue to take advantage of deal days, with 61% percent reporting that they are planning to shop on Black Friday and 67% on Cyber Monday. 

The majority (78%) of those planning to take advantage of Black Friday will do so online, followed by in-store (64%) and on mobile (36%). 

Shoppers clicking into Cyber Monday will do so on their laptop or desktop (71%), followed by their smartphone or tablet (67%). 

Younger generations are more likely than their older counterparts to steal deals, with 76% of Gen Z and 66% of millennials planning to shop on Black Friday compared to 61% of Gen X, 53% of Baby Boomers, and 43% of the Silent Generation.

•    Thankful for Thanksgiving: While 70% of respondents positively support retailers closing their doors on Thanksgiving Day, 23% still plan to shop on the day, and 60% of those will shop in-store. 

The holiday survey follows a July Shopkick survey,  which found that 92% of this year’s back-to-school shoppers plan to make their purchases in physical retailers

“Consumers are eager to get their holiday shopping done this year, and they are ready to spend,” said Dave Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “As retailers prepare for their biggest season, it will be imperative that they get an earlier start, improve their omnichannel and e-commerce capabilities, and offer the best deals on the traditional days consumers have come to love.”