Online continues to replace in-store browsing
Whether through a laptop at work or a smartphone before bed or in-store, online searches continue to replace much of the shopper discovery process that comes from in-store browsing.
That’s one of the conclusions of Google’s annual Holiday Shopper Intentions research conducted with Ipsos MediaCT that explored how today’s digital consumers — "the most connected ever" — are shopping earlier in the holiday season, using online video to help with research and turning to smartphones as personal shopping assistants.
Among the key findings:
Late-night shopping: One-third of all shopping searches on Google happen between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. On its blog, Google wrote, "Shopping doesn’t stop once the mall closes. Today’s shopper spends more time than ever researching purchases online at all hours of the day; we’ve gone from midnight snacking to midnight shopping."
Black Friday becoming month-long event: More than half of consumers start their research before Thanksgiving, with 26 percent having started before Halloween. At least 12 sources of information on average were used before purchasing last year, up from five in 2010. Google wrote, "This means that October through November has become a crucial period for retailers to reach shoppers online, being present with offers, information, how-tos and content."
Online shopping is the new window shopping: Beyond research, shoppers are going online for "for inspiration at all points of their day," including seeing what their friends and favorite influencers are wearing. Google wrote, "Sites like YouTube and Pinterest have become the new window displays, and a new generation of fashion influencers like Bethany Mota are influencing shopping decisions." YouTube, owned by Google, was cited for the growing popularity of its "unboxing videos," product reviews and haul videos.
The mobile shopping assistant: Three-quarters of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones in-store this holiday season and one in three use their smartphones to find information instead of asking store employees. To brick & mortar’s benefit, 46 percent of shoppers who use their phone in a store still end up making a purchase, an 11 point increase from 2011. Google wrote, "Consumers are coming into stores more purposeful and informed than before, and savvy retailers are turning this into an opportunity."
- 2014 Holiday Shopper Research: Shopping Never Sleeps – Google Inside AdWords
- Holiday Is (Almost) Here: 5 Shopping Trends Marketers Should Watch – Think With Google
What can retailers do to best capitalize on the popularity of online research before purchases? Do you think the time of day affects how consumers browse online and should retailers respond accordingly?