Online and in-store channels are complementary, not competing, elements of the path to purchase.
According to survey of 1,048 holiday shoppers from digital marketing firm Silverback Strategies, more than 83% of respondents purchased gifts online during the 2020 holiday season. For consumers who spent more than $500 on holiday gifts, that number jumps to 94%.
However, not all of these online shoppers went exclusively to e-commerce giants like Amazon. In fact, more than half of respondents who purchased holiday gifts online said they visited the website of a retail store.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, retail stores still saw considerable foot traffic. Three in four respondents shopped at a physical store location. Of this group, nearly 80% made traditional in-store purchases. Others used omnichannel curbside pickup and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) services.
Among respondents who did not visit a brick-and-mortar store during the holiday season, top reasons for avoiding in-person shopping were fear of contracting COVID-19 (56%), shopping on e-commerce websites was more convenient (48%), and not wanting to deal with COVID-19 safety protocols (32%).
Research findings suggest purchase intent, or how likely a buyer considers a purchase at a given time, was higher in-store than online. This was particularly true of certain product categories, like jewelry and watches, where respondents were nearly 30% more likely to consider buying at a retail store compared to online.
According to Silverback Strategies, brick-and-mortar stores have become somewhat of a product showcase rather than a point of purchase for products requiring more consideration before buying. Despite higher purchase intent at stores, 45% of respondents reported purchasing a product online after they saw it in a retail store. Clothing, toys and consumer electronics were the top product categories purchased through this method.