Catalogs Influenced Holiday Shopping Behavior More than Social Media

Baynote today revealed the results from its 3nd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey. The study, conducted in partnership with the e-tailing group, surveyed 1,000 U.S. online holiday shoppers between Nov. 24 and Dec. 5 in order to gain insight into consumer behavior and key buying influencers across various retail channels. Here are the Top 5 findings, according to Dan Darnell, Baynote’s VP of Marketing.

Catalogs influenced both in-store and online purchases more than social
While 2012 saw the continued rise of social media platforms, their influence on holiday shoppers paled in comparison to the time-tested paper catalog. According to the survey, print catalogs influenced twice as many consumers as both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases. Print catalogs influenced 81.9% more in-store purchases and 42.9% more online purchases than Facebook. Social platforms were most influential to consumers between the ages of 25 and 34, while print catalogs were most influential among consumers 45 years and older.

Tablets continued to overshadow smartphones across-the-board from browsing for gifts to completing transactions
Consumer preference for tablets was most pronounced when browsing websites in search of products to purchase; while 40% of tablet owners (or 21.9% of all respondents) used their device for browsing, only 28.4% used their smartphone. Baynote also found that consumers are starting to rely more heavily on tablets to perform tasks typically associated with smartphones such as conducting product research in stores and searching for coupons.

Despite significant investments in developing mobile retail apps, they have yet to reach their full potential
23% of respondents made at least one purchase using a mobile app on either their smartphone or tablet. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 were most likely to make a purchase using a mobile app, with an average of 32% doing so. Conversely, consumers 45 and older were least likely, with an average of 14.1% using an app to make a purchase.

Digital marketing influenced in-store purchases almost as much as online
According to the study, online marketing channels and mobile devices significantly influenced in-store purchase behavior this holiday season. While online marketing had a greater influence on online purchases than in-store purchases in most instances, that difference was minor. For example, online ratings and reviews influenced 24.1% of in-store purchases while influencing 32.9% of online purchases. Of note, Twitter proved more influential for in-store purchases while Facebook and Pinterest were more influential for online purchases.

Consumer concerns over privacy did not significantly alter buying behavior
Survey respondents expressed concern over privacy, but that concern did not trump the convenience of online and mobile shopping tools. The survey found 64.5% of respondents were concerned with privacy when using a smartphone, 55.3% with personal computers and 42.1% with tablets. However, only 15.3% of respondents abandoned their smartphones due to privacy concerns, 12.3% abandoned their personal computer and 10.7% abandoned their tablet.

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