New Research from Blis Uncovers U.S. Consumer Shopping Plans Ahead of the Holidays

Blis, the global pioneer in advanced location data technology, today announced the launch of a new research report titled A 2018 Holiday Shopping Outlook: How and Where Consumers Will Buy During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, which uncovered how American consumers are planning to shop this holiday season. For many this year, gift buying will be status quo; those who are changing their habits, though, plan to spend less money and shop more online. Interestingly enough, 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 10-40% more than expected if a physical retail location is holding a holiday sale.

Digging into when American shoppers begin their holiday shopping, the research introduced two distinct types of shoppers that marketers would be wise to strategically target for optimal results leading up to holidays: 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. On the other side of the shopper spectrum are the “Last-Minute Gifters” who only shop during the holiday season: 28.3% will buy gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.

Regardless of when shoppers plan to buy, 57.7% will do the most of their holiday shopping online. There’s good news for traditional retailers, though–nearly 40% of shoppers will head in-store to buy gifts, indicating they’ll shop at thriving, traditional, “generalist” retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, but also mall retailers and local mom-and-pop shops. While headlines often proclaim the impending death of retail, real-world consumer experience seems to contradict these predictions with more than half of shoppers indicating that none of their tried and trusted gift locations have closed.

“There’s no doubt that this holiday season will be challenging for retailers. 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,” said Gil Larsen, VP Americas at Blis. “With the use of location data, specifically, marketers can observe real-time behavior to best engage and persuade consumers. 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.”

Other findings demonstrate the widespread embrace of mobile– whether consumers are finding holiday shopping inspiration from online or in-store, more than half of the survey respondents said they plan to do most of their holiday shopping online. While 51.5% indicated their shopping behaviors will be the same this year as last year, 37.3% will shop more online, which points to the necessity of an increased mobile budget for the holidays. In spite of the popularity of mobile shopping–more than 75% of those who indicated they’re mobile-first shoppers are between the ages of 25-44–the majority of respondents usually either their laptop or desktop to purchase gifts online. Of those who stick to more traditional means of online shopping, 47.6% plan to find their holiday shopping inspiration from TV / online / mobile advertisement.

Blis conducted market research through AYTM, surveying 2,000 consumers across the U.S. at every socioeconomic level, to uncover shopper preferences and how they like to best interact with brands. Visit for more information on location-based tactics, or download A 2018 Holiday Shopping Outlook: How and Where Consumers Will Buy During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to discover the actual consumption habits of 2018 American shoppers this holiday season and how they are responding and reacting to brands in the current retail climate.

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