Survey: Holiday Shoppers Prefer In-Store Purchases But Online Research

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Though many consumers still plan to do most of their holiday shopping in stores this year, many will do much of the legwork online, according to a recently released Prospectiv Consumer Preference Index survey.

The survey from Prospectiv, Woburn, MA, a provider of customer acquisition, e-mail marketing and data analytics solutions, found that while 89 percent of consumers polled said they prefer to make holiday purchases mostly in-store, 71 percent said they intend to use the Internet to research and compare products and prices before heading out to malls, department stores and discount stores.

Along with doing shopping research online, 35 percent of consumers said they will increase online spending for gifts this year, according to the CPI. Fifty-five percent said they make their online holiday purchases earlier than in-store purchases.

The convenience of shopping from home or the office, 24/7, is the No. 1 reason for gift-buying online, said 57 percent of online shoppers polled. Nineteen percent of online consumers shop via the Internet to avoid the holiday crowds.

Unsurprisingly, 45 percent of shoppers said free shipping would encourage them to make more online purchases. Thirty-six percent cited better sales and online special offers or discounts targeted to their preferences as the top incentives to increase their shopping online.

In-store shoppers also are looking for better deals. Sixty-five percent of consumers said more in-store sales would be an incentive to increase their purchasing.

"Even though the majority of consumers plan to make their holiday purchases in-store this season, the data show effective marketers should use online marketing to drive consumers to their retail location," said Jere Doyle, president/CEO, Prospectiv. "Although most consumers will spend the same or more on holiday shopping compared to last year, 65 percent will be spending less than they would have due to rising prices at the gas pump and expected increases in home-heating bills."


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