New research from Ipsos and Magnetic reveal 2016 holiday behaviors
Timing, channels, and devices all play a role in guiding consumers through their shopping journey, and influence how people engage and purchase items and gifts during the holidays. New proprietary data from Magnetic, as well as recent results from a joint survey from market research company Ipsos, gives marketers a behind-the-scenes look at what happened during the 2016 holiday shopping season.
A significant number of surveyed shoppers got an early-ish start on their holiday research with the largest share (30%) browsing online a few months in advance of the holidays, and another 19% either browsing online during or prior to the summer months. Although browsing behaviors point to early activity, less people made purchases months in advance of the actual holiday, with the largest share (32%) of people purchasing only a few weeks prior. 2016 insights paint an interesting picture for marketers, showing when people truly engage in holiday buying behaviors – down to the weeks, days, devices and channels.
Additionally, people cited multiple channels as being influential in terms of holiday sales, with 4 out of 10 respondents crediting brand/retailers websites (41%) and emails from brands/retailers (38%) as the most helpful in learning about holiday deals and promotions during the 2016 season.
Email topped the list for some demographics. Females, more than males, found (44% vs. 31%, respectively) and Millennials, more than Gen X and Baby Boomers (41% vs. 37% and 35%, respectively) found emails from brands/retailers most helpful in learning about holiday deals.
Gift cards also proved to be a way for marketers to increase sales and bolster shopping carts. Across the Ipsos and Magnetic survey, 65% of people claimed to receive gift cards this holiday season with a 25% planning to redeem them within one week and another 26% early in the New Year. Among those who received gift cards this holiday season, a third (33%) always/frequently exceed the gift card value! Marketing to this group of people, either through emails, on-site personalization or online ads, is a smart way to continue momentum into the New Year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Fight for Consumer Attention
In more recent years, we’ve also seen consumer behaviors change in terms of how they research and prepare for the annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events. New 2016 stats from Magnetic’s platform shows that:
Additionally, Ipsos and Magnetic’s survey results reveal the growth and dependence of online vs. in-store, pointing out behaviors across different ages and household demographics.
Mobile Makes its Mark, Despite Weak Conversions
Despite the lack of conversions happening on smaller screens (Black Friday conversions rates on mobile were 57% lower than desktop and 56% lower for Cyber Monday), mobile devices still prove to be preferred by most consumers, especially on specific days. According to Magnetic data, mobile made up 44% of site visits in Q1, 50% Q2, to 53% in Q3, 56% Q4.
Ipsos and Magnetic also point to cross-device usage, showing that 43% of people surveyed use more than one device for holiday purchases and decision making, with 17% using three or more. Mobile visits (63%), orders (44%) and revenue (43%) peaked the week of Christmas, whereas desktop showed strong engagements the week of Cyber Monday. Mobile visits reached their peak on Christmas day, making up 70% of traffic. This is most likely due to the fact that people engage on the device closest to them (i.e. smartphone) vs. being on their laptop/desktop on the actual holiday itself.
Other interesting findings from Ipsos and Magnetic include that men were most likely to use 3+ devices to conduct research (14%), and that Millennials were the group most likely to use more than one device (66%). Mobile also played a larger role around the deal-oriented days in 2016 compared to 2015:
Multiple factors played a role in the final outcomes of the 2016 holiday shopping season, including the lag of mobile conversions, increase of mobile visits, and overall acceptance of online as the preferred shopping channel.
Holiday insights from 2016 will continue to shape plans for 2017. Stay tuned for more information derived from Magnetic’s Platform Insights and a recent survey from Ipsos and Magnetic.
Magnetic is a digital marketing and artificial intelligence company. We use machine learning and AI to deliver smarter, faster, and more effective advertising. Our powerful AI platform continuously analyzes the attributes of 320 million live user profiles alongside real-time inventory supply and bid opportunities to deliver highly performant and profitable campaigns for our clients.