It feels a little scary to consider, but it’s already time to start planning your 2018 holiday campaigns. While it is only June, the year’s moving fast, and the earlier you get planning, the more you can refine and improve your strategy to maximize benefit, capitalizing on the latest consumer trends and moving in line with evolving discovery behaviors.
To help with this, Facebook’s released a new study which looks at how shoppers are increasingly using social media and their mobile devices in their holiday planning and shopping process. And Facebook’s report is significant – the Facebook IQ research team gathered responses from 40,965 people aged 18+ across 27 markets.
That’s a big research pool – here are their key findings on evolving holiday shopping habits.
First off, as you might expect, a growing number of people now rely on their mobile devices to assist them with their shopping process.
“From holiday 2016 to holiday 2017, Mobile-first Researchers (people who say they do the majority of their research on mobile devices) grew by 14.0%, and Mobile-first Shoppers (people who say they do the majority of their shopping on mobile devices) grew by 19.9%.”
Further to this, Facebook’s researchers also found that 54.7% of holiday shoppers indicated that Facebook was influential in their holiday shopping during the 2017 holiday season, while 39.3% said the same thing about Instagram.
These are significant trends, but even with this growth and usage, Facebook’s data still shows that the vast majority of holiday shopping is done in-store, with mobile complimenting the path to purchase. Globally, Facebook found that 70.2% of people made purchases in-store during the holidays.
Indeed, this is where the majority of respondents indicated that they’re using their mobiles more often – in-store, comparing prices and seeking out the best deals.
Some 43.7% of surveyed shoppers indicated that researching on mobile, in-store, is the best way to find nearby stores offering great products and deals, and as you can see in the below chart, there are various ways in which mobile is becoming a larger compliment to the in-store experience.
These trends open up a range of opportunities to integrate your online and offline marketing efforts. For example, you could list price and product comparisons in store, provide real-time social monitoring comparisons to help consumers make more informed decisions, or raise awareness of discount coupons available online via in-store signage.
Beat the Crowds
The final key element of Facebook’s study looks at the influence of crowds on shopping behaviors, and how newer options can help alleviate the stress of the busy period.
With stores filling, what can you do to ease the purchase process?
Facebook notes that some businesses now allow customers to scan products in-store, then pay via an app.
“In the US, shoppers’ interest in this technology has been growing, especially among Millennials - 49.2% say they are very interested in scanning their own products and paying via an app.”
Around 43.6% of respondents also indicated that they’re interested in processes which enable them to order online and pick up in-store. Given the availability of newer options like these, it may be worth investigating ways to make it easier for your customers to streamline their shopping process – many still want the in-store experience, but there are ways you can reduce the anxiety around lines and wait times.
Based on their findings, Facebook’s research team recommends that retailers look to capitalize on mobile-first ad formats to ensure that users are finding the information they want when they go looking, while brands should also consider utilizing Messenger to give shoppers an option to interact in real-time.
Over time, more people are making more purchases wholly online, but the in-store experience is still important – so while you should be looking to cater to online shoppers, the key consideration underlined by this report is that you also need to be providing options for those using their mobiles as they shop.
You can read the full Facebook ‘In-Store Holiday Shopping’ report here.