As the holidays get started, 87% of shoppers say they’re planning on heading to stores, according to a study by Natural Insight. Shoppers aged 45-59 are most likely to shop in stores (88%) and younger shoppers aged 18-29 were least likely (80%).
Almost a quarter of shoppers (23%) plan to do most of their shopping before Thanksgiving, but the majority (51%) will shop early December. A smaller number will do most of their shopping on Black Friday (15%), the week before Christmas (10%) and the day before Christmas (1%), the study found.
Natural Insight also found that the anticipated spend per person varies by demographic, with 74% of 18-29 year-olds planning to spend less than $250 in stores and 63% of 45-59 year olds planning to spend more than $250 in stores.
With retailers preparing for the holiday rush, it’s important to take into account key differences in the wants and needs of shopper demographics.
For example, while Natural Insight found that 80% of 18-29 year-olds are planning on shopping in stores, that also means 20% plan on shopping only online. Prepping e-commerce websites for the influx of customers — and ensuring they aren't fraught with some of the biggest e-commerce annoyances — is a good step toward capturing that demographic.
Retailers should also consider what aspects of the season might lure in certain customers. According to Natural Insight, younger demographics dominate Black Friday shopping, with 45% of the shoppers on that day landing between 18 and 29. That being said, the younger demographics are also the most likely to spend less.
While Black Friday shopping might be better-targeted toward younger customers — and increasingly towards online shoppers — retailers shouldn’t ignore older demographics during the season, who offer the most overall spend.
Natural Insight also found that women tend to shop earlier than men. According to the study, 93% of women will have their shopping done by early December, whereas 83% of men will have theirs done at that time. That means that men will likely be shopping later in the season and retailers should be prepared to offer convenient services and on-deck store associates to help late shoppers get in and out fast.
In-store experience also varies by demographic and it’s not all about seeing and touching products, although 60% of shoppers still want that. Other holiday shoppers choose to shop in stores because they want to browse for gift ideas (52%), because they enjoy the holiday atmosphere (35%) or just as a social activity (23%).
According to Natural Insight, in-store experiences targeting millennials in particular should add demos of espresso machines or couple cameras or GoPros with live in-store displays that shoppers can use to post on social media. For older demographics, the strategy might be aimed more at convenience. Either way, the marketing strategy should differ depending on who’s doing the shopping and when.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2017 holiday shopping season. You can browse our holiday page and sign up for our holiday newsletter for more stories.