Survey: Tech-Wary Shoppers Shift Online For Holidays

A survey from IFTTT, which provides software that facilitates the use of services, indicated that 58% of consumers in the U.S. change their shopping preferences during the holiday season, with the majority shifting to shop online more toward the end of the year.

However, many consumers lag behind changing technology, so retailers shouldn’t expect all retail innovations to prompt big sales improvements this holiday. IFTTT noted that 68% of respondents have never used a retail chatbot, for example, and 23% don’t even know what chatbots are. Indeed, 83% of respondents said they do not trust a robot to shop for them.

Virtual reality may revolutionize the customer experience online even if it has taken off slowly, IFTTT noted. But the company added that most consumers are open to VR shopping, with the most popular potential use being for home decoration, which 59% of respondents said they might try.

Just over a third of consumers said they wouldn’t mind shopping with a virtual companion: 36% stated that they would rather stay at home and shop with Alexa or Siri than go to the mall with family or friends. As shopping evolves, services may have a better shot at winning customers. At present, 36% of survey respondents said they use at least one retail subscription service, such as Stitch Fix, Bark Box or Harry’s Razors, but 53% stated that they are interested in the idea.

But retailers shouldn’t give up on the in-store experience, as only 34% of consumers reported shopping more online than in-store.