Study: Don’t ignore brick-and-mortar this holiday season

A new study suggests retailers should already have all channels ready for holiday shopping. And sooner rather than later.

Holiday shopping is now a six-month season, according to key U.S. findings from a global consumer study by digital marketing platform Bazaarvoice. Almost 20% of respondents reported to have started their shopping as early as mid-summer during “Black Friday in July” sales, while 29% will start in early fall,

Black Friday still dominates the shopping season, with the plurality of respondents (37%) saying they will complete the bulk of their holiday shopping that day, followed by Cyber Monday (19%).

Almost two-thirds of respondents say they will complete the majority of their holiday shopping online. However, more than one-third (37%) of respondents say they will complete the bulk of their purchases in-store, and 36% will complete the majority or entirety of their shopping at a mall.

Other interesting results include:

• Almost half (49%) of consumers have returned a holiday gift in the past in order to exchange it for a different option, such as size or color.

• Consumers’ biggest complaints with online holiday shopping are lengthy shipping times and slow order fulfillment (43%), followed by difficulty to decide between brand and product options (39%).

• Biggest in-store complaints are long checkout lines (75%) and messy/overcrowded stores (61%).

• Respondents’ top suggestions for improving the holiday shopping experience are self-checkout or buy online, pick up in store options (60%) and implementing faster and more cost-efficient shipping solutions (57%).

The research is based on survey responses from 2,500 consumers in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany.
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