Holiday Shopping Trends: Most Consumers are Looking for Deals
The U.S. has become a nation of deal-seekers. Instant access to deals at the swipe of a finger or click of a mouse has propagated deal-seeking behavior and turned Americans—millennials included—into professional shoppers and bargain hunters.
Even with low unemployment rates, the end of the recession and thicker wallets, new research uncovered that deal-seeking is on the rise with more than half (56 percent) of respondents saying they are more likely to look for deals this year as opposed to last year. For retailers looking to engage with existing and potential customers ahead of the busiest shopping season of the year, the research also identified four key trends to consider:
Most consumers are seeking deals regularly—regardless of income. When asked whether they look for deals when they shop, nearly all respondents (97 percent) said yes, with 92 percent saying they are “always” looking. This deal-seeking behavior is not limited to those who need to stick to a budget, either. Nearly 90 percent of respondents with annual household earnings of $200,000 or more look for deals regularly. Retailers should keep in mind that deals aren’t just for those strapped for cash, and offering deals across a spectrum of high- and low-value products can help reach different shopper audiences.
Consumers hunt for bargains before and during the purchase process, and feel smart when they find they best deals. Before buying anything, shoppers research the best deals in loyalty and reward programs, using smartphones, by asking their personal network and in circulars and print ads. They also search for deals in the same ways while actively shopping—relying on smartphones to check for deals and compare prices. And, when they are able to find the best deals, 40 percent of respondents said they feel smart. To beat out competitors, retailers should ensure deals are widely accessible to shoppers—and make sure shoppers can find them.
Rebates are effective, when done right. Shoppers also want to be rewarded post-purchase and report satisfaction in receiving rebates. They’ve been around for years, but rebates are often overlooked as effective rewards that can reinforce purchasing behavior. In addition to satisfying shoppers, rebates can benefit retailers by gathering customer data that helps identify trends, keeps shoppers engaged and encourages them to become repeat customers.
Price and value outrank brand. Price isn’t consumers’ only motivation when shopping, but nearly 90 percent of respondents named price as a top factor affecting their purchase decisions. Price was followed by quality (82 percent), which is nearly double the percentage of people who cited brand as their top purchasing factor (45 percent). Retailers can attract new customers and retain existing ones by offering high value deals they just can’t resist.
Coupon clipping, price comparisons and other deal-seeking behaviors aren’t new, but with technology offering more means and opportunity for shoppers to find deals, it makes sense that consumers are becoming more savvy. Offering deals like rebates, making deals easy to find and providing savings opportunities across a gamut of products can help retailers satisfy consumers’ desire to find the best deal while also working to ensure future purchases and engagement with their brand.
Theresa McEndree is the Vice President of Marketing at Hawk Incentives, a Blackhawk Network Business delivering incentive programs that build relationships with easy-to-use platforms, global rewards and comprehensive service and support.