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The holiday shopping season is starting to heat up as retailers across the country prepare for the onslaught following Thanksgiving.

This year, the holiday shopping season is almost definitely going to look a lot different than in past years. Still, all estimates suggest this year’s holiday sales will be as big as ever.

To help you get prepped, Google is releasing a 27-page guide full of case-studies, useful data, and insightful predictions on this year’s holiday shopping. 

While these bits of info cover a wide range of topics, they broadly fall into 3 categories: search behavior, changes in online shopping, and buying behavior.

Google Search Behavior and Holiday Shopping

In the guide, Google highlights a range of specific search terms that have been shooting up in popularity:

  • Searches for “best affordable” have grown globally by over 60% year-over-year.
  • Searches for “fashion online shopping” are up 600% year-over-year.
  • Searches for “online clothing stores” have increased 100% globally year-over-year.
  • Searches for “available near me” have grown over 100% globally year-over-year.
  • Searches for “curbside pickup” have grown over 3,000% globally year-over-year.
  • Searches for “support local businesses” grew by over 20,000% since last year.

What This Means For You

This data provides two real takeaways for business owners. The first is that Google is seeing a huge influx of new online shoppers – especially when it comes to buying clothes. This leads us to the second takeaway, the COVID-19 pandemic has made many people reluctant to shop in-store, even when they want to support local businesses.

To accommodate this shift in behavior, it is more essential than ever that businesses provide a range of shopping methods including online stores and contactless pickup.

Changes In Shopping Behavior

With this in mind, Google conducted a survey to see how holiday shoppers are adapting to the unique challenges of 2020. Here’s what they found:

  • 69% of US shoppers plan to shop online for the holidays more than in previous years (with more people going online to browse and buy for the very first time.)
  • More than 50% of surveyed US shoppers tried a new shopping service for the first time this year.
  • More than one in ten surveyed US shoppers tried a new shopping app for the first time this year.
  • 70% of US shoppers said they were open to buying from new retailers.

What This Means For You

We are all generally resistant to change, but the reality of this year has everyone outside of their comfort zones and trying new things. This is clear in our shopping behavior.

Not only are shoppers trying new ways to shop, they are opening themselves to buying from new retailers who have stepped up to the challenge. 

Buying Behavior of Holiday Shoppers

The last selection of stats and data turns the attention towards what shoppers are expecting as they enter the holiday shopping season:

  • 62% of US shoppers will start holiday shopping earlier to avoid items being out of stock.
  • 46% of online US shoppers expect retailers to offer discounts.
  • 77% of US holiday shoppers said they would browse for gift ideas online, not in-store.
  • 46% of surveyed US shoppers agreed that “I make a deliberate effort to shop at businesses that align with my values.”
  • 66% of US consumers who plan to shop this holiday season said they will shop more at local small businesses.

What This Means For You

While the swell in people shopping locally online may seem like a broad shift in consumer desires and behavior, it can also be read as a sign that many local shoppers have been pushed online this year. 

Additionally, many consumers are making a concerted effort to support businesses in the community who may be struggling during the pandemic. 

The increase in tension surrounding the elections is also reflected in this data, as many showed they are focused on shopping at places which align with their values. 

To read the full report yourself and get even more insights into the 2020 holiday shopping season, click here

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A new study published by ad tech company Fluent shows the holiday season is looking to be more mobile than ever.

According to the report, nearly 40% of all US consumers are already planning to make at least one purchase this holiday season from a mobile device. Unsurprisingly, younger consumers appear to be more likely to make purchases from mobile devices compared to older individuals.

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For the survey, the company asked almost 2,000 US consumers questions about their holiday shopping plans in late September. The responses showed 39% plan to make at least one purchase on a mobile device, with younger shoppers being increasingly likely to go mobile.

Just less than half of consumers between the ages of 18-44 say they plan to shop on mobile devices, compared to 33% of those 45-years-old or older.

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The survey also provides insight into how consumers will be researching their purchases ahead of time, both online and offline. In total, approximately 54% will do the majority of their research online, while 47% will continue to do their research in traditional physical stores.

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While online research is becoming a big part of the holiday season, brick-and-mortar stores will still be where shoppers are spending the majority of their money. The survey results show 78% of consumers will do at least half their shopping in stores, while 22 percent said they will do at least half their shopping online.

The survey shows a small discrepancy between genders, as well. Fluent says men are slightly more likely to research products online compared to women.

As September begins many retailers are kicking off holiday promotional campaigns, which means the Christmas season is coming even earlier than normal this year. According to ChannelAdvisor’s 2015 Online Retail Survey, over half (59%) of retailers in the US and UK have already begun their holiday campaigns.

It’s not uncommon for holiday promotions to begin early in the year, as consumers begin holiday researching and shopping months ahead of time, but the survey shows retailers are beginning their holiday promotions even earlier than last year. The survey also shows that retailers say their top strategy this year is to offer more holiday sales in an attempt to boost sales.

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As with every year, most retailers are depending on strong holiday performances, with over a quarter (74%) of retailers saying at least 20% of their annual sales come from the holiday season.

While Black Friday sales were lower than expected last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain key sales days for the holiday season. Among US retailers, 41% reported Black Friday was the most profitable day of the year, while 47% of UK retailers said the same.

Retailers have high hopes for this year’s holiday sales performance, with 82% saying they expect sales to increase. Of those, 21% said they expect holiday sales to rise more than 15% from last year.

For the full survey, click here.