Top Three Trends of Holiday Shopping

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Top Three Trends of Holiday Shopping
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The most important thing for retailers used to be foot traffic—getting a shopper into a store. Today, shopping happens everywhere: in stores, on the web, on the web while in stores. And it happens all the time, in micro-moments throughout the day and night. In fact, 4 in 5 smartphone holiday shoppers used their phone during spare moments or while doing other activities last year. This means that attention is at a premium, and retailers need to be present wherever and whenever someone is shopping.

How can retailers make sure they reach shoppers this upcoming holiday season? We looked back at last year’s holiday season and analyzed the latest retail trends to help marketers get a head start on their holiday plan.

Sight, sound, and shopping
When they start shopping for the holidays, most people—nearly 7 in 10—are totally undecided or considering multiple gift options. To get ideas, they used to thumb through catalogs or walk by store windows. But today, oversized catalogs fall under fire, and the web, rich with visuals and videos, is where people go to browse.

On YouTube, gift guides are a popular and growing trend during the holidays. In this genre of video, creators like Grace Helbig, Zoella, iJustine, even Kid President dole out advice on the perfect gift and often endorse their favorite products to buy. Most of the time (70%), these videos are watched on mobile. That "anywhere, anytime" access adds up; in the time people spent watching gift guide videos on YouTube last holiday season, you could watch "It’s a Wonderful Life" well over 300,000 times.

Quest for the best
Once they have an idea of what to get, today’s shoppers face an overwhelming number of options, especially online. Want to get mom a scarf? Amazon sells roughly 225,000. Deciding which to buy can leave shoppers stressed, unhappy and paralyzed. The reason could an inadequate use of shipping supplies for securing the items at shippers’ end. (Maybe that’s why, last season, nearly 7 in 10 holiday shoppers said they received a gift card.)

To narrow down the options, shoppers look for (what else?) the best ones. In the top retail categories, mobile searches on Google related to "best" products have grown by more than 50% in the last year. And more than ever, shoppers are relying on product reviews in these "which-one’s-best" moments. Last holiday, reading reviews was one of the top three actions shoppers took while shopping on mobile, up significantly from the previous two years.

Mobile is local
When holiday shoppers are ready to buy, digital will play a big role, but it’s only part of the equation (read: don’t count on shorter checkout lines). People still value touching a product, but now they’re tapping a screen at the same time. Mobile searches in stores are up by over 30%. Often, shoppers will buy on their smartphones right there in the aisle. Forty-three percent of mobile shoppers in consumer electronics have purchased products on their phones while looking at those products in the store.

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