Shorter Holiday Season Puts More Focus on Cyber Weekend

U.S. shoppers wants lots of choices, great deals and delivery reliability over speed this holiday season, according to a survey of more than 3,000 consumers by ecommerce platform provider CommerceHub, and the shorter season has put more emphasis on Cyber Weekend.

The late timing of Thanksgiving trims six days from the traditional holiday shopping season, which has consumers reviving commitments to deals during the period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they were either very likely or somewhat likely to shop on the major deal days, a 25% increase over 2018.

Ninety-six percent of respondents plan to do at least some of their holiday season shopping online, the survey found. But no matter how and where shopping is done, having an abundance of options is the top priority for 44% of respondents.

Other priorities break down this way:

  • 24% valued exceptional delivery and fulfillment options
  • 17% named excellent customer service as important
  • 14% wanted to see more personalization

Online shopping will not favor direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands this holiday season, despite all the hype they’ve received this year, according to the survey. CommerceHub found that 82% of respondents will be shopping on marketplaces. Amazon dominates there with a 69% share in this survey, with Walmart at 10% and eBay at 3%.

BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In Store) has “reached maturity,” the survey found, with 93% of consumers looking to pick up purchases in store because they could get their items sooner or for less, the survey found. The reasons BOPIS was favored by shoppers:

  • 49% said it meant they could get their item sooner than via delivery
  • 44% said it was less expensive than paying shipping
  • 5% said they were afraid of porch pirates nipping their package
  • 2% expressed concern over signing for a package at home or work

As in much other recent research, consumers said they value delivery certainty over speed. Sixty-four percent said a deliver delay would affect their decision to order from that retailer again.

In terms of speed, 3% said they expected a same-day delivery option, while 46% said 3-5 days is reasonable for ecommerce delivery. Eleven percent said next-day delivery was reasonable and 37% said the same for two-day delivery reasonable.

Influencers will continue to have major impact, with 63% of respondents very likely or somewhat likely to make purchases because of their recommendations. The survey said respondents 30 and older are more likely to follow suit on influencers than those ages 18-29, but did not provide a data breakdown.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • 83% said it was important for retailers to offer environmentally conscious shipping and delivery options
  • Only 1% said they’re looking to shop via voice this holiday season

CommerceHub is a cloud-based network connecting more than 12,000 retailers, brands and suppliers. Its customers, including Walmart, Best Buy and Macy’s.

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