Skip to content

Major Paradigm Shift in Holiday Shopping: Six Takeaways from New Research

Date Icon Nov 24, 2020
Author Icon Chris Weissman

Just as Covid-19 has impacted our personal and work lives, so has it disrupted consumer markets in more ways than one. But how things would shake out post-lockdown has been a big question since March. Now, with California research outfit Ignite Visibility’s latest study, we finally have some solid answers.

Their team interviewed 1,000 consumers regarding holiday shopping habits to attempt to find out whether there were any new behaviors going on. What they learned is quite remarkable and will have impact beyond the holidays. Many of the things we’ve been assuming about consumer behavior have all but transformed in a work-at-home world.

Here’s a list of their main findings, and some of the things you will want to keep in mind if you’re in e-commerce—or, really, in any B2C category.

Consumers now buy from ads just as often as from organic search results

This is a huge change. As most are aware, digital pop-up ads are often ignored by the majority of the users (this is partly why at TopRight we focus on storytelling and strategy over ad buys). But with the advent of remote work and digital shopping, digital ads seem to be having a much higher effective rate than traditional ads in magazines, newspapers, and TV ever did.

E-commerce timeframe and behavior around the holidays have transformed

Consumers are now shopping a full month before the holidays, presumably to get it out of the way. They say that website quality and speed are important—if they have to wait for your page to load, they’ll just shop elsewhere. Consumers also said free shipping was a big motivator, and that they plan to spend as much or more this year than they did last year. And those coupon codes and gift cards? They’re not as important as you thought.

Most consumers purchase from their desktop

Equally interesting, the mobile phone is now #2 when it comes to holiday shopping, responsible for just 13% of purchases. Desktop shopping accounts for far more than half.

About 86% of consumers must see an ad two times or more before buying

Two times at least. In actual fact, it will usually take about six exposures to the same ad before a potential buyer will act.

Consumers prefer to purchase from a website, not on social media

What does this say to me? Don’t bother offering people “hot deals” directly on social media. Instead, tell them an appealing brand story that sends them to your website, where they can learn more. This also empowers the customer to be the hero of their own buyer’s journey.

Around 54% of people are shopping more on Amazon

This is big growth, of course, but also not hugely surprising. The good news for you? Only 10% of people plan to do all of their shopping at Amazon—which leaves a ton of room in the market for other brands to stake their claim. In fact, according to research, all major brands together have only a very narrow edge over other lesser-known brands online. So, don’t be intimidated by the giants! There’s a lot of market share out there for you.

Sign up for the TopRight blog! You can also follow me on Twitter @ChrisJWeissman or pay me a personal visit on LinkedIn. And if you still want more marketing insight, think about picking up a copy of one of TopRight’s latest offerings: Strategic Analytics and/or Marketing, Interrupted.

Elevate Your Brand With Topright — Where Strategic Insights Fuel Success

Let's Talk