NPD: Online Shopping Growth Expected During Holidays

Consumers looking to check items off their gift-giving list during the forthcoming holiday season will do more of their shopping online, according to a recent report from The NPD Group.

NPD’s 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey found that consumers anticipate doing nearly 40% of their 2017 holiday shopping online, up from one-third two years ago. In addition, consumers that shop online said they plan to spend roughly 70% more than shoppers that plan to shop only in stores. The survey found that, on average, online shoppers expect to spend $793 compared with $467 for those shopping only in stores.

“Online is going to play an increasingly critical role in the 2017 holiday shopping season,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Retailers, big and small, recognize online retail’s importance and have been turning up the volume on their online strategy this year, which will only intensify during the holidays.”

NPD’s Checkout Tracking and Checkout Tracking E-Commerce research shows that online purchase frequency of general merchandise categories during the holiday season has increased while in-store spending occasions have declined.

During the fourth quarter of 2016, consumer e-commerce purchase frequency increased 12% to an average of more than six online orders, compared to brick-and-mortar stores, where consumers made an average of 18 purchases, a 4% decline from the prior year. Home improvement, beauty, apparel and technology were among the faster-growing categories in terms of e-commerce purchase frequency. Beauty was one of the few categories which experienced purchase frequency growth at brick-and-mortar stores.

Almost three-quarters of holiday consumers plan to do some of their holiday shopping online this year, with even higher likelihood among Millennials and Generation X. Topping the list of anticipated holiday shopping destinations were online-only sites, like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, noted by 66% of consumers in this year’s Holiday Purchase Intentions survey. Mass merchants/discount stores and their websites were the second most popular planned destination, followed by national chains and department stores.

“New online competition is emerging every day giving consumers more options, but also creating more noise and shopping confusion,” added Cohen. “The key for traditional retail continues to be an omnipresence approach that muffles that noise, synthesizes brick and click strategies, and keeps your brand top of mind for consumers throughout the holiday season.”