This Holiday, Gift Consumers What They Really Want: Seamless Multichannel Shopping, Trust and Privacy

By Publicis Media InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: This Holiday, Gift Consumers What They Really Want: Seamless Multichannel Shopping, Trust and Privacy

It's that time of the year again: Every time we hear Mariah Carey singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You," we think about what our loved ones want most as a gift. Meanwhile, brands are competing for our business with deals, gift guides, special holiday gifts, and more. But let's shine a light on what consumers really want this holiday.

Using a scientific approach to answer this question, Performics conducted the new Digital Satisfaction Index (DSI) study via our proprietary research unit, the Intent Lab, in partnership with Northwestern University Medill. The DSI findings showed that aligning to consumer needs and intentions will make or break it for brands this holiday season. It's critical to have a process in place that uncovers consumers' holiday shopping motivations; this allows advertisers to plan, craft, and target ads and experiences relevant to consumers' intentions.

So Many Gifts, So Little Time

Even though the holiday season comes with a lot of joyful moments, it also brings gifting madness and anxiety — and tons of people to shop for. Our study found that there are two major types of holiday shoppers: those who shop for a close circle of friends (one to five people) and those who shop for more than 10 people. Women are more likely to shop for larger groups, compared to men, who mostly shop for either their significant other, kids, or themselves.

The Intent Lab study found that 63 percent of those holiday shoppers buy all their gifts online only, so understanding key factors of digital satisfaction and creating an easy shopping experience on your brand site is critical.

Don't Overlook the Store Experience

It's also essential to provide a seamless experience in-store. The Intent Lab study found that more than 40 percent of holiday shoppers who are over 35 years old prefer to shop both online and in-store. On average, 25 percent of holiday shoppers between the ages of 18–34 also prefer to shop at both, which proves that store experience matters, even for younger generations. Brands that can find ways to provide the right holiday shopping experience across both worlds — connecting online to in-store with features such as "buy online, pick up in-store" or deals that unlock in-store — will win consumers this holiday.

Commerce Marketplaces Are a Key Shopping Destination

The Intent Lab study found that 63 percent of holiday shoppers in the U.S. start looking for gifts on retail/commerce marketplaces such as Amazon or Walmart, followed by search engines at 23 percent, and major retailers/department stores such as Nordstrom and Macy's at 10 percent. This proves that commerce sites are attracting consumers first, which can enable them to be the one-stop shop for the holiday season. Yet, the study also found that when we compare men and women holiday shoppers, women are twice as likely to start holiday shopping at a large retail/department store, compared to men.

Be Ready for Holiday Shoppers Three Months in Advance

We all know that the holiday season officially begins after Thanksgiving, but our study proves that holiday shoppers start browsing for gifts way ahead of time. Nearly 40 percent of shoppers start browsing one to three months before the holidays, and about 15 percent start browsing three to six months in advance.Half of holiday shoppers buy their gifts at least a month ahead of the holiday season.

Brands must be ready months in advance to not only create brand awareness and association with the holiday season, but also assist consumers on their timetables.

Gift Consumers Trust and Privacy

Our latest study showed that, once again, consumer trust in digital experiences has dropped. In March 2019, when we compared the importance of digital factors for consumers, utility/ease had the highest importance weighting (41 percent), followed by trust at 21 percent. When we looked at the importance weightings during holiday season 2019, we saw a drastic change: consumers are placing a nearly equal amount of importance in privacy (26 percent), trust (26 percent), and utility/ease (27 percent).

More than 50 percent of respondents overall agreed with the statement: "I am skeptical about anything I read online." Trust is most important to millennials; 42 percent agreed with the statement: "I generally mistrust the information I get online." About one-third of baby boomers and Gen X (32 percent each) stated that they feel the same.

When we look into privacy, 77 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: "I am concerned about my privacy online" and "I find it creepy when websites know information about me that I have not directly communicated."

So, even if you crack the code this season of the best gifts, best channels, or best timing, if you're not giving your holiday shoppers an opportunity to trust you in protecting their privacy, you won't be seen as their most generous holiday friend.

This season, all I want for Christmas is to shop from brands that offer me a seamless experience on-site, in-store, and on commerce marketplaces that I trust with my information and privacy. What about you?

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