The Expectations of Holiday Buyers

Buying the “perfect” gift online during holiday season can be a very daunting task for many—some people simply just don’t need anything extra or have very specific and limited preferences. In some cases, we really have no clue on what the other person wants and this can make the whole process extra hard.

The same scenario applies to e-commerce owners, who really need to know what consumers want in order to satisfy their expectations and turns these into sales and cash. The thing is, consumer behavior is constantly subject to change and e-commerce website owners need to realize that there is not “one size fits all approach” but, there are some clues and tools they can use to determine those needs and offer real solutions to their customers-before anyone else does. Otherwise, the competition will be virtually merciless.

So what exactly online consumers want for this year on holiday season? We have conducted a survey asking almost a thousand of people to give out their preferences and what exactly will make them buy something. We have also contacted over 100 e-commerce website owners about their plans to meet consumer demands this holiday season.

Surprisingly enough, consumer demand and marketing plans are not exactly in sync. Here are some findings that prove this notion:

50+% of online retailers have started marketing their products and services on September, 4 months prior the holiday season but consumer response reached a mere 30% as the vast majority of holiday shoppers wait anywhere from late October to the last minute to shop for holiday gifts.
38% of online buyers have stated that they will avoid shopping from websites that offer shipping free of charge yet less than 20% of online retailers and 30% of multichannel merchants have considered this consumer demand.
Many online consumers (around 52%) that they like BOGO (Buy one get One) deals but less than 40% of e-commerce website owners plan to launch this deal
The vast majority of consumers (61%) reported that they will utilize their phone’s special apps to find better deals online on the same or similar products or services yet only 41% of online retailers believe consumer will engage in such behavior
Of course, all these mismatches and inconsideration of consumer’s expectations could seriously affect negatively sale figures this season.  Here are some tips every online e-commerce owner needs to know instead to adjust their marketing efforts accordingly:

  • Focus your marketing efforts on “millenials”/people aged 18-29 by launching black  Friday sales and deals since they are the group that responds the most to these deals, as the wait after October to buy something during the holiday season.
  • Consider the behavior of senior online buyers as well—this target group either starts shopping early (from September) or waits until Cyber Monday to make a purchase and therefore launching specials during these periods will most probably prove out to be profitable.
  • Keep in mind that 54% of online shoppers, especially those aged 18-29 love flash sales  although that number seems to be lower in older ages (people of 36-64 years old).
  • Decide whether launching a door buster sale is a good idea or not. In our survey, we have found that 70% of online merchants consider this a great idea for increasing sales, yet only 28% of holiday shoppers seem to be fond of these kind of deals.

It’s obvious here that online shoppers have their own set of expectations, which might differ from what merchants “think” it will attract more sales. Customers during the holiday season are looking for the best deals and offers and don’t really give a damn of being loyal to a brand if it doesn’t sound like a good deal.  This is why online merchants need to carry out surveys and keep a close eye on consumer behavior if they want to bring in more business to their website.

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