For brick-and-mortar retailers, this holiday season may or may not be “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the 1963 Andy Williams Christmas standard has it. Location data firm Blis reports that many shoppers don’t plan to spend any more or less on gift buying this year than they did in 2017. For those whose shopping patterns are changing, the trends point to spending less overall and buying online more often.
However, there’s the potential for retailers to find more than a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings. “There’s no doubt that this holiday season will be challenging for retailers,” said Gil Larsen, Americas VP at Blis. “Consumer budgets are down and brands are struggling to maintain and grow revenue, but there is ample opportunity for marketers to break through the noise and make meaningful connections with shoppers throughout their gift-buying process.”
One encouraging note: despite the headlines trumpeting the death of brick-and-mortar stores and the triumph of e-commerce, nearly 40% of consumers surveyed by Blis plan to head to the stores this holiday season. Further, of the 18.7% of shoppers who plan to spend more money this year at the holidays, 64.5% are likely to spend anywhere from 10% to 40% more than expected if a physical retail location is holding a holiday sale.
Titled “A 2018 Holiday Shopping Outlook: How and Where Consumers Will Buy During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Blis’ research characterized two distinct types of shoppers. The company noted that marketers would be wise to strategically target them individually for optimal results in the weeks leading up to the holidays. The company identified these two types as “Always-Alert Opportunists” and “Last-Minute Gifters.”
One in every three Americans make up the “Always-Alert Opportunists” who buy holiday gifts throughout the year, especially if something someone wants is on sale. At the other side of the shopper spectrum are the “Last-Minute Gifters,” who only shop during the holiday season. Just over 28% will buy gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.
“The more you know about who your audience is, where they’ve been, and what they’re interested in, the higher your likelihood of converting consumers this holiday season,” said Larsen.
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