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Shoppers want deals, digital services this holiday season

Shoppers are ready to spend this holiday season, but brands with the best deals will get their business.

Shoppers plan to spend an average of $803 during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend, up from $743 in 2017. However, an overwhelming majority (87%) of consumers reported that they will be searching for deals when shopping for holiday gifts, according to the “RetailMeNot 2018 Holiday Insights Guide.”

According to data, retailers remain aware of the competitive landscape they face, with 86% feeling more pressure to compete with Amazon during the holiday season than at other times of the year. That said, 95% of retailers agree that deals and discounts are more effective at driving purchases during the holidays than other times of the year.

To ensure they can grab wallet share, retailers are stepping up holiday season preparations, and increasing investments in mobile (72%) and social media (69%), as well as beginning marketing efforts (74%) earlier than 2017. Based on these efforts, 60% feel optimistic that they will outperform their 2017 holiday season sales this year.

Retailers that offer the right combination of deals and services are sure to grab customers’ attention. In fact, consumers said they will spend more money with a brand or retailer this holiday season if it has the lowest price on the gift (67%), provides free shipping (64%), or provides the best sale or discount throughout the season (51%). Meanwhile, 61% said they will not complete an online purchase during the holiday season without first securing free shipping.

The majority (60%) of consumers plan to start shopping before Black Friday 2018, and only 27% will wait to start their holiday shopping on Black Friday or later. The top three places where consumers will be looking for gifts are department stores (67%) online-only retailers (60%) and big-box stores (47%).

This holiday season, it's the millennial generation that may receive the majority of retail marketers' attention. In fact, 57% of retailers surveyed indicated their greatest focus for holiday marketing will be on Millennials, compared to a focus on Gen X (34%) or Baby Boomers (6%).

Capturing their attention may not be easy, however. Millennial shoppers expect easy shopping experiences, deep discounts and instant gratification, including:

• 72% of Millennials say that it is important to them for retailers to personalize the shopping experience to fit their needs this season;
• 89% of Millennials want their gifts in hand as soon as possible;
• 36% of Millennials are most likely to spend more money with a retailer known for great customer service;
• 93% of Millennials are searching for deals when purchasing gifts this holiday season.

Not only do they want a fantastic in-store experience, but 65% of Millennials plan to make a purchase on a mobile device, compared to Gen X (48%) and baby boomers (30%).

"While Millennials showcase a higher level of comfort with mobile shopping and are more likely to demand personalized and instant experiences from retailers, all consumers this holiday season are seeking a great experience with a good deal," said Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer, RetailMeNot. "The retailers who succeed this year will rely on data for smart discounting strategies and smart marketing to meet consumers where they are."
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