It seems every year the malls are more crowded, the stores open earlier and there are more and more crazy people out looking for deals. Not surprisingly, this growth is also happening online. Consumer habits are changing, and it is now more important than ever for business owners and marketers to understand this shift in order to stay ahead of the curve. Below are some key insights on consumer buying habits, purchase timing and mobile trends from Google’s Shopping Trends and Insights for the 2012 Holiday Season.
The Traditional Shopper Has Changed
Historically, holiday shopping consisted of heading to the retail location, waiting in line and being bombarded by employees working on commission. This still happens — but the consumer is changing where he wants to shop. When consumers were asked to describe in one word how they feel about in-store shopping, some of the top responses were “crazy,” “hectic” and “awful.”
The same question was then asked about shopping online, and the responses were drastically different: “fun,” “great” and “easier.” To be fair, there were negative answers to both questions. However, for the most part the answers favored online shopping. The report also noted that more than 20 percent of shoppers did research on a smartphone or tablet before buying a product online or in store. In November, there was a 13 percent year-over-year increase in purchases made on a mobile device.
That 13-percent increase for November is expected to grow for December 2012.
According to the survey, 50 percent of shoppers purchase their products in December before Christmas. As these behaviors alter, so does the communication that retailers are using. As online and mobile grow a greater share of voice, marketers need to ensure that they are influencing all of the possible consumer touch points.
The Consumer Experience has Changed
During the holiday season, consumers need to be enticed and kept close. Whether this is in store, with a magazine coupon, or an online offer, they need a nudge to buy. The survey asked the question, “If a site does not offer free shipping what do you do?” More than 80 percent of respondents said they would find a different option. Image is everything when it comes to user experience on a website. Four out of five people surveyed said they get frustrated when a mobile website is difficult to navigate.
Adapting to the Environment
Moving forward, businesses must stay agile and ready to adapt to the changing environment. Mobile usage will grow significantly over the next few years.
Mobile Friendly Tips
- Mobile Experience – Build a mobile friendly website or app to provide a better user experience.
- Research – Consider utilizing tools like Google Analytics to research which devices users are using and where to target.
- Advertise – Look to paid search media for targeted ads and online offers.
As Google’s shopping trends report said, the market is shifting more towards mobile experiences. As user habits change, it is important to remember to cater to the needs of the consumer in order to have a leg up on the competition. Providing a positive user experience can be the major point of difference in making or losing a sale. These numbers are only expected to grow as more people start using smartphones. As business owners and marketers, staying ahead of these shifts in behavior is paramount to success in the future.