Holiday Shoppers Turning To Social Media And Internet

    November 11, 2009

Digital technologies continue to drive a new approach to shopping, with social media and mobile phones becoming key influencers this holiday season, according to a new survey of holiday retail spending and trends by Deloitte.

Social media is gaining traction with 17 percent of consumers planning to use social media during their holiday shopping, and 60 percent plan to use it to find discounts, coupons and sales information, More than half (53%) plans to use social media to research gift ideas, while 52 percent plan to check the gift wish lists of friends and family.

Consumers in all age groups plan to embrace social media over the holidays. While more than half (52%) of those who expect to use social media during the shopping process are in the 18-29 years old age group, 33 percent are in the 30-44 years old age group and 12 percent are in the 45-60 years old age group.

The mobile phone is another digital tool for the holidays that is on track to be used by 19 percent of consumers to help with their holiday shopping. Those consumers plan to find store locations (55%), research prices (45%), find product information (40%), get discounts and coupons (32%) and read reviews (31%). A quarter plan to make a holiday purchase with their phone.

The Internet ranks as a top shopping destination and continues to see steady growth. Nearly a quarter (22%) of consumers indicate they will shop primarily online this year and many are using the Internet to find special offers, with 44 percent of shoppers expecting to use a coupon they get online.

Reviews have become another key online source of information, with 39 percent of consumers indicating they often read consumer-generated reviews of stores or products online, and one-quarter (25 percent) saying they will likely purchase a product this holiday season based on an online recommendation. More than a third (34 percent) say that online consumer reviews and ratings influence their buying decisions more than advertising.
"Consumers are turning to mobile, online and social media during their entire holiday shopping experience," said Stacy Janiak, vice chairman and Deloitte’s U.S. Retail leader. "Retailers should consider harnessing this activity to turn browsers into buyers with one-click access to coupons, promotions and purchasing tools."

"This year’s leaner in-store inventories may also open the door for retailers to lure customers to their online channels where it is easier to access inventory, no matter where it is located."

The Internet is also changing the traditional store-based purchase process. Almost half of consumers (48%) say they like the convenience of shopping with multi-channel retailers, and 78 percent indicate they have purchased an item in a retailer’s store after viewing or researching the product online. In addition 65 percent have done the opposite and purchased an item on retailer’s website after viewing it in the store or catalog.

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