Most (65%) holiday shoppers dutifully establish a budget and a quarter say they look out for sales to buy all or most of their gifts at a discount throughout the year, according to a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults from coin-counting kiosk company Coinstar. Just 14% shop at the last minute, 7% finish most of their shopping before Thanksgiving and 12% take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts, according to the report.
Two in five consumers (39%) say they’ll collect spare change to help fund the holidays, 35% will cut back on entertainment like movies or concerts, 33% will eat out less frequently, 26% will buy on layaway, 23% will dip into savings and 20% will use credit cards. But all the planning, discount-hunting and cutting back fails to help many: 77% of holiday consumers expect to go over budget, Coinstar said.
More than ever this year, the buying will take place online: Black Friday will be the busiest digital shopping day in U.S. history, lapping Cyber Monday for the second year in a row, according to Salesforce’s holiday report. Shoppers will finish just half of their holiday shopping by Dec. 3rd and 80% will be finished by Dec. 15th, Salesforce found. Cyber Week (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) will see the deepest discounts and the highest rate of free shipping (86% of all orders), according to Salesforce’s number crunching.
Holiday shoppers this year are definitely focused on gift-giving — Coinstar found that many (74%) people increasingly feel obligated to buy gifts for friends, family and colleagues — but they’re also once again focused on paying as little as possible for them. A whopping 68% would like to give something akin to a lump of coal to someone on their holiday list, though presumably, they won’t.
To save money and to be creative, some givers aren’t spending money at retailers, online or off, instead making confections or other food at home (31%) and hand-crafting non-food items (28%). Other popular presents that won’t accrue sales to retailers re regifted items, services like house cleaning, childcare or a day of pampering, and giving to charity in lieu of a gift.
Aside from the creativity and the penchant for discounts, holiday shoppers are keen on free shipping, according to Salesforce and other research. Nearly half (46.1%) of shoppers told CPC Strategy that overall price, including shipping, is the most important reason to buy their holiday gifts from a particular retailer.
"The Coinstar Holiday Survey provides insights into how consumers shop, give gifts and budget for the holidays," Sandi Stoller, director of brand strategy and marketing at Coinstar, said in a statement. "We're reminded that the holiday season can put a strain on family budgets, but encouraged that people are developing strategies to stay on track and even recover after the holidays.”
To help with all that, shoppers will be on their phones a lot at the holidays. Mobile traffic to retail sites will grow to 60% globally, compared to 34% for desktop and 5% for tablets, Salesforce predicts, while orders placed on phones will approach 40% on big shopping days like Black Friday. That includes research, where the most used channels accessed before buying online include website (74%), email (43%), social media (38%) and a retailer’s mobile apps (36%).
Voice assistants are coming on strong this year, with 40% of millennials turning to Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant to research merchandise before buying online, according to Salesforce. And many shoppers think store staff should also be on their phones, at least to help them out: 58% think that store associates need the ability to look up product details on-demand on a mobile device in order to help deliver an excellent customer experience, according to Salesforce.
The Coinstar Holiday survey was conducted online within the U.S. by independent market research agency Atomik Research between July 11 and 14, 2017, among 2,002 adults 18+ who give gifts to others in observance of a winter holiday.
For its report, Salesforce combined data-based insights on the activity of 500 million global shoppers across 53 countries and billions of transactions powered by its Commerce Cloud, and millions of public social media conversations through Marketing Cloud Social Studio, plus data from Salesforce’s 2017 Connected Shoppers Report, which is based on responses from 2,011 adults 18+ in the US, among whom 529 are Millennials (ages 18-36), 530 are Gen Xers (ages 37-52), and 737 are baby boomers (ages 53-71).