As Christmas fast approaches, how and when are consumers shopping this festive season?

The clocks have changed, the high street window displays are bursting with red and gold…and my inbox is filling up with promotional offers – it’s that time of year again, Christmas is just around the corner! With every festive season especially in recent years, I’ve become increasingly savvy with my Christmas shopping; where to get the best deals, how to avoid the Oxford Street crowds and who can save me time & money – how about you? 

We’ve recently conducted some consumer shopping research to help us put together some best practice advice for email marketers over the festive period. The consumer trends we found are highlighted below and make for some interesting reading.

Christmas shopping: when & where?

  • This Christmas whilst consumers aren’t abandoning the high street, they’re increasing their activity on ecommerce shopping sites – a 29% jump from 2010 in the number of shoppers on high street retail websites to pure ecommerce shopping site.
  • The rise of mobile shopping is also apparent with 15% of respondents citing they will shop on a mobile device or app this Christmas.
  • With timing and frequency of shopping sessions on the run-up to Christmas, the good news for retailers is that a large amount of consumers only start their Christmas shopping a month before the big day.
  • There’s also a growing amount of people who shop on or after Christmas day, with just over 20% buying their Christmas gifts in the post-Christmas sales.

Christmas spending

  • Christmas 2011 will see nearly half (49%) of respondents spending the same amount as Christmas 2010, and only 21% will decrease their spending.
  • Nearly a third of respondents will spend more this Christmas, a great plus for the retail industry and especially etailers.
  • Consumers are spending online rather than the high street for varied reasons – the most prevalent especially at Christmas is to avoid crowds – with over two-thirds of respondents citing this. In close second, both ease and lower prices encourage people to shop online.
  • Consumers get their hands on vouchers and discount codes in a number of ways – the most popular being online methods; through emails (44%) both directly from retailers themselves, voucher portals and group buying sites, and secondly from websites (30%).

Christmas surfing

  • Once the checkouts stop ringing on Christmas eve, the internet doesn’t sleep – a staggering 88% of recipients said they will be online over the Christmas period.
  • Most recipients use multiple devices for using the internet, with smart phone and tablet use a growing for online shopping, but most notable for using social networks
  • 65% of respondents using Smartphones and 44% using tablets for accessing social networks.

In line with the trends we’re seeing from consumers, we’ve put together practical tips for email marketers during the festive season – coming soon in Part Two!