Even after lockdowns began to ease, with no vaccine in sight, we all knew the 2020 holiday shopping season would look different from previous years. By how much, we didn’t know. Now that we’ve asked consumers what their holiday shopping plans are, we have the full picture – it’s not just about online shopping this year, it’s about mobile.
Consumers are using their phones for research and discovery of new products
Over half (58%) of those surveyed use their smartphones to check out products online, far more than they use desktops (32%) and tablets (10%). This is a behavior that has gone on for years, as people used their extra time, mostly in small chunks, to browse online and look up items in the moment.
However, this year we are seeing more intent to purchase from the phone. This is likely due to the increase in time spent on mobile this year. Additionally, most consumers believe that mobile shopping is now just as secure or more secure than using a desktop.
Mobile shopping is going to take place in-app more than anywhere else
Over a third (36%) are using only their phones to shop – nothing else. This is in alignment with the projection that eMarketer made: mobile will represent 44% of all e-commerce sales this year, totaling $314 billion by the end of 2020.
And for the first time, consumers have come outright and said they prefer in-app over mobile browsers. (In last year’s study, most respondents had no preference.) When asked what matters most to the shopping experience, half of respondents noted that easy navigation was #1, followed by an easy payment process (25%). These are the common characteristics of an excellent shopping app, and it is what customers have now come to expect from brands. Less important were exclusive offers (14%) and a good desktop experience reflected on mobile versions, with just 1 in 10 people saying they cared about that.
Delivery is king! More than 8 in 10 shoppers (86%) will order online for home delivery
The vast majority of shoppers will be getting their selections delivered to their homes this year, despite retailers’ obvious push for adoption of curbside pickup. Only 6% will choose that option, according to the survey. Consumers cited shopping experience and better selection as their reasons for choosing to shop online, putting convenience and safety lower in priority.
Gift cards, clothes, electronics and … gaming consoles?
While gift cards will be a common purchase this year (50%), perhaps due to the ease of delivery and the ability for the recipient to order something online, clothing is still the #1 category, with 75% of mobile users buying apparel via mobile. Spending on travel, transportation and events is unsurprisingly down to sub-20% levels, but interestingly, 32% of respondents intend to buy gaming hardware (e.g., Xbox, PlayStation) this year.
Most consumers (59%) will still exchange gifts in person, even after buying online
Despite the pandemic, friends and family gift exchanges will still take place this year. About one-third (31%) will have items shipped directly to the recipient’s home, while 10% will have the item delivered to their home where they’ll wrap the gift and ship it out themselves.
Women make up the majority of online holiday shoppers
We know back-to-school shoppers skewed more female, but we’re surprised to see more women (62%) than men showing interest in answering questions about mobile shopping during this upcoming holiday season. This indicates a larger volume of women who are browsing mobile apps for products to purchase for others versus going in-store to do so. As they browse, targeted ads for specific products will be well-received and effective: 75% say they would purchase directly from an ad if it were relevant to them.
About the 2020 AdColony Holiday Shopping Survey
The survey was distributed globally and garnered over 1,500 responses. This report focuses on results specifically from North America, mostly from the United States. The survey asked respondents, aged 14 years old to over 75, 21 questions about their shopping behaviors and preferences during the holiday season, and how their mobile device plays a role in the buying process.