Shoppers Pair In-Store Spirit with Mobile Purchases

In a blended retail world, customers are shopping in store, but often buying online.

As the holiday shopping season wraps up, customers admit they’re using their phones to help them shop but still enjoy the experience of shopping in store.

More than one in six holiday shoppers said they will use their mobile phone to buy gifts this season, a number that more than doubles among Millennial shoppers, according to this year’s “Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey” from The NPD Group.

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However, half of consumers say that simply going out shopping during the holidays puts them in the holiday spirit. This holiday season, retailers are doing more to combine the convenience of online shopping with the feeling of in-store shopping.

“We’re observing an abundance of ‘hands-free shopping’ at retail this holiday season, the result of increased free shipping offers, and the blending of in-store and online shopping capabilities,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group. “By making purchases on their mobile device while in stores they can continue to shop without the hassle of lugging packages.”

The convenience of shopping online on a mobile device becomes more attractive to consumers with free shipping offers. This holiday season is the first one where shoppers ranked free shipping above overall value on the list of factors that will influence where they shop for holiday gifts. Retailers have acknowledged the consumer’s fondness for free shipping, with many adding this to the list of shopping perks they are offering holiday shoppers. Luxury and specialty brands, mass merchants, department stores, and pureplay e-commerce sites have all upped the free-shipping ante this holiday season.

Consumers are embracing today’s blended retail world, with six in 10 planning to holiday shop both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. At the end of last holiday season, nearly a quarter of shoppers told NPD that when they had difficulty finding what they planned to purchase, most often, they then searched for the product online via a mobile device*. Still, more than one in five consumers still say they will rely on in-store displays and signage to learn more about a product before making a holiday purchase this year, and almost 10% will look to sales associates for recommendations.

“Brick-and-mortar retailers are presented with a huge opportunity to better compete with the growing e-commerce world during the holiday season and in the year ahead,” added Cohen. “A blended in-store and online marketing approach, enhanced with customer service, brings shoppers into the store and preserves opportunities for critical impulse purchases.”

*Source: The NPD Group / December 2017 Omnibus