Monday, November 28, 2011

All Indications Suggest a Banner Year for Cyber Monday Shopping

By all indications, Cyber Monday is likely to set records this year. Buying online is a greener form of consumption because it reduces the amount of fuel used to find, price and purchase an item. Online shopping is also a greener way to shop due to the fact that trucks can deliver goods more efficiently and it takes a lot less energy to run a warehouse for boxes of goods than a mall. Online shopping can be a more beneficial option for the planet particularly when it is paired with more responsible purchasing (ie: purchasing items with smaller footprints).

Online commerce has played a bigger role in the holiday shopping season virtually every year since its inception. This is largely due to the increased sophistication of Internet marketing and consumers who are becoming more web-savvy.

Black Friday saw a 6.6 percent increase in buying over last year and according to IBM, online shopping was even stronger with a 24.3 percent increase for the day.

According to a annual holiday spending survey by Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a retail marketing company, 60% of shoppers said they will use online shopping and price-comparison applications before making any purchases.

Online sellers and shoppers are both optimistic about the holiday season. According to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey 68% of online retailers say they expect to see growth of at least 15% over last year.

On the consumer side, data from the National Retail Federation, shows that consumers plan to do 36% of their holiday shopping online. This is an increase from 32.7% in 2010.

This holiday season, mobile shopping will be even more important with 51% of retailers say they’ve “significantly invested” in mobile-optimized websites. Only 19.6% have invested in tablet apps, but 35.3% are using QR codes to bring in customers.

Social is also important with 72.5% of retailers building up their Facebook presence and 41.2% using Twitter. 29.2% of consumers said they would check a company’s Facebook page for holiday shopping information. 65.1% said they read customer reviews on the company website.

Consumers want to shop online because of convenience (43.2% said it was 24-hour convenience). Consumers also said online was a great way to avoid the crowds and it was easy to compare prices, so they knew they were getting the best deal.

According to a Deloitte Holiday Survey titled "Digital Shopping Will Keep the Grinch at Bay this Holiday Season," the Internet has tied discounters as top destination for gift shopping. Online shopping, once the preferred option of younger shoppers, is now prevalent across generations and mobile tools are assisting holiday shoppers more than ever.

Almost half of consumers surveyed (48 percent) say they most likely will shop for gifts online this holiday season – a double digit (13 percent) increase from last year. This makes the Internet the No.1 shopping destination, (tied with discount stores), for the first time since adding the channel to Deloitte’s annual study.

Social media sites are helping shoppers as 44 percent of consumers plan to use them while holiday shopping. While social media use cuts across all income groups evenly, high-end shoppers will be the most active online and on their phones this holiday season.

Smartphones are also key to the online buying experience. Among smartphone owners surveyed (42 percent) who plan to use their phones for holiday shopping (27 percent), nearly six out of 10 (56 percent) will check or compare prices specifically while in a store, and 38 percent will scan barcodes to locate product information.

For more information about Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, including additional statistics, historical data and useful links, click here.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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