This holiday shopping season has started off with a bang. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, US retail sales (excluding automotive) on Black Friday rose 2.5% year-over-year, not adjusted for inflation.
The digital shopping realm also has experienced a resounding success so far with Adobe Analytics reporting record ecommerce sales – recording $9.8 billion spent online on Black Friday (a 7.5% increase from 2022) and a whopping $12.4 billion spent on Cyber Monday (up 9.6% annually).
So what does all this mean for the rest of this year?
After all, the holiday shopping is not finished yet! Mastercard SpendingPulse forecasts that in-store and online retail sales growth (which, as noted above, rose 2.5% on Black Friday) will hit 3.7% over the duration of the holiday shopping period of Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.
Clearly, retail brands still have opportunities to reel in shoppers for the rest of December. But how are December holiday shoppers different from Cyber Week shoppers? And do these differences in behavior indicate adjustments as to how brands approach the rest of the holiday shopping season?
In seeking to better understand this behavioral difference, LoopMe leveraged our AI-powered surveying technology to conduct research and compare the findings. The tool generated two mutually exclusive respondent pools totaling 4,835 US consumers – one segment represented consumers who were planning to shop during Cyber Week, and the other segment represented shoppers planning to shop during the December holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.).
Below are three key findings.
December may see more in-store traffic than November
In comparing the two audience segments, we noted differences that may be useful for retail brands to consider as they embark upon the last big push of the year. One finding, in particular, was telling: Cyber Week shoppers were 2x more likely to shop online vs. in-store, while December holiday shoppers are equally likely to shop online as in-store.
This is interesting in the context of what we’ve been seeing so far. Per Mastercard SpendingPulse, Black Friday ecommerce sales increased 8.5% year over year, while in-store sales only increased 1.1%. This supports the plans that November shoppers reported to us, with significantly more respondents preferring online to in-store. If December shopping plans also hold true, we will see more balanced in-store traffic in the remaining holiday timeframe as compared to online.
Youngest shoppers are likely to spend more in December
Another trend from LoopMe’s survey data showed that Cyber Week shoppers are more likely to increase spending year-over-year – and we did see this happen in November. As for December shoppers’ plans, those surveyed on average said they would spend less year-over-year.
However, the youngest cohort (18-24 years old) were 73% more likely than average to spend more, compared to last year, and 21% more likely than average to shop in-store. It remains to be seen what will happen with spending overall, but retailers should consider the youngest cohort’s enthusiasm as they calibrate their final push.
Expensive verticals and apparel will get more interest in December
If December shoppers do hold back in spending as compared to last year, as they indicated in our survey, it is worth noting that there were consumers who said they plan to spend more than last year, and those consumers disproportionately favored more expensive verticals. For example, 25% of shoppers who are planning to spend more intend to purchase electronics, while just 12% of respondents overall intend to purchase electronics. The largest slice of December shoppers indicated that they’ll be shopping for apparel (33%).
Even with a highly successful holiday season, it is still important for brands to be tuned into shopper behavior changes throughout the season. Holiday shopping trends in November vs. December look different, and those differences are worth interpreting to understand where (and when!) the biggest opportunities lie to reap the best possible results.
Daniel Sicular is the manager of Insight and Analytics at LoopMe, a leading technology company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve brand advertising performance. Prior to joining LoopMe, he spent time on the agency side at Initiative and MediaCom, and on the brand side at WeightWatchers.
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