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Christmas shopping season starts here: study

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Christmas shopping starts here, according to a new study that finds more than 15% of UK shoppers wait till after tonight’s Bonfire Night to start their seasonal buying – and that 2% don’t plan to start till Christmas Eve.

Some 53% of UK consumers told an SDL survey that they will pay a premium for a better customer experience when they’re doing their Christmas shopping – despite the fact many families have less money to spend this year. That was true for 60% of consumers globally, and for 73% of US shoppers. Customer experience management company SDL questioned more than 4,000 consumers, including 2,000 from the UK, and 1,000 each from the US and Australia, for its 2013 Holiday Shopping Survey.

More than half (55%) of UK shoppers said say they research the items they want to buy in shops first, even though they may then go on to buy online. Some 49% say they research through retailer websites and 30% through ecommerce sites. But less than 5% learn about products through Facebook and Google+ while less than 2% do so through Pinterest and Twitter.

Indeed, 45% said they preferred shopping in traditional stores, up from 43% when similar research was carried out in 2012.

Some 66% say they won’t use a tablet or smartphone to do their shopping any more than they did last year – but 45% say they will use their mobile device to research. And 29% say they shop for Christmas presents online when they should be working. But shopping dates such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem to mean more to retailers than those doing the shopping, since 63% of UK respondents said they didn’t plan their spending around specific dates. The figure was 80% in the US.

“The holiday shopping season is a critical time for brands to provide a positive customer experience,” said Mark Lancaster, CEO of SDL. “Our study shows that consumers’ preferences and behaviours can shift considerably from year to year, from country to country. Organizations that are able to consistently deliver compelling and engaging experiences, across media and geographies, are those that are poised to be successful this holiday season.”

SDL is holding a webinar on November 20 to discuss its findings in more detail.

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