Bizrate Insights· Author
Bizrate Insights continuously studies the evolving habits of shoppers throughout the year. Our recent focus on holiday season data has revealed persistent patterns of behavior that are also likely to inform consumer behavior for this upcoming season. Additionally, the pre-holiday survey of 1,000 online shoppers in September 2023 also focuses on many of these issues to get a sense of where this year’s holiday shoppers stand.
In this post, we’ve combined those holiday findings with annual surveys from 2018 through 2022, which address topics across the ecommerce shopping landscape.
We found little change year over year. One can’t help but ask themselves why thousands of shoppers might be so consistent across sharply different economic conditions.
In this post, we will pose a few theories backed by data:
- Their expectations are being met, seeing little or no reason to change course
- They are finding what they need for themselves, their families, and gift-giving purposes
- They gravitate to the convenience that is inherent to the online experience
- They hunt for and find deals propelling them to buy
- They appreciate the option to receive delivery via stores or directly to their homes
- Readily available free shipping means there’s no cost for product delivery, elevating online’s appeal
- The breadth of the assortment makes finding what you need and what you covet appealing
We’re shoppers-it’s simple!
Shoppers are creatures of habit. In many ways, they have simple needs. They gravitate to things that save them time and money. Over the years, both dynamics have been the cornerstone of online shopping. Today’s online shoppers believe their expectations are met, seeing little or no reason to change course. They are finding what they need for themselves, their families, and for gift-giving purposes. Both of these factors deliver just the consistency shoppers need and desire.
They hunt for and find deals that propel them to buy
No shopper wants to pay any more than they have to for purchases. Interest in finding and securing deals supports this notion, as 7 in 10 shoppers took advantage of a discount on average. Of course, our November-December survey was conducted during a time frame when more deals were available for the taking. Despite the timing, these are solid and consistent numbers supporting securing the desired deals.
Readily available free shipping means there’s no cost for product delivery, elevating online’s appeal
All one has to do is look at what online shoppers identified as the most important factor when choosing an online retailer. Free shipping was cited by 75% of survey respondents, making it clear that free shipping is at the top of the selection list factors. Knowing there’s little additional cost for delivery, it’s easy to see how we immediately head online. Indeed, Amazon Prime paved the way for these feelings, but the myriad of other retailers who followed suit made it easy for most of us to go without paying shipping. Its power continues to captivate consumers.
This 5-year look at the deals shoppers took advantage of in the all-important 4th quarter finds that in each year, at least 40% received either unconditional free shipping or were able to secure free shipping with a minimum order value. On a side note, they were happy to take advantage of discounts on special items or their total purchase. And we can be sure that some savvy shoppers were beneficiaries of both promotions.
The breadth of assortment makes finding what you need and what you covet appealing
The opportunity to find anything you need, covet or might consider has been facilitated online. Though assortment is not as high on the list as many price-driven factors, it matters. And perhaps, now that its breadth is a given, shoppers no longer prioritize it as they do other factors that tend to fluctuate. Those fluctuating features include prices, delivery times, and promotions, so online shoppers may be keener to rank them as more important. Either way, the assortment is fundamental to the online value proposition.
They gravitate to the convenience that is inherent to the online experience
Our 2023 research spells it out clearly: The No. #1 reason shoppers continue to gravitate to the web is convenience, selected by 60% of survey respondents. It ranks higher than money-savings, assortment, and information, suggesting it’s the clear winner for today’s time-starved shopper.
Online is the preferred holiday shopping channel
Online’s staying power is a testament to the fact that shoppers gravitate to the convenience of this channel over time. They are unwavering in their interest. If cost and availability are equal, 8 in 10 will consistently select the online channel. One can’t help but conclude that convenience is the driving force behind this decision.
They appreciate the option to receive delivery via stores or direct to their homes
One thing we can be confident about when it comes to shoppers is they appreciate choice. That certainly applies to delivery as in each of the five years we surveyed, over half of the shoppers alluded to the importance of BOPIS or buy online pick up in-store. Buying online and picking up in-store has long been a shopper preference, and Covid helped fuel its adoption. Once again, the consistency is uncanny, and positive experiences will likely foster even greater interest.
In the end, the usage matters as there’s a cost for retailers to execute their omnichannel services well. With one in three shoppers intending to use these services during each of the previous holiday seasons, its role seems secure. The only variable will be retailer execution.
Keeping shoppers happy has always been simple. They receive a convenient and compelling shopping experience with flawless delivery. With the right promotions and pricing, they will have little reason to return to stores and more reason to stick with the online channel they have come to favor.