News Feature | November 13, 2013

Unwrapping 2013's Holiday Shopping Trends

Source: Retail Solutions Online
Sam Lewis

By Sam Lewis, associate editor
Follow Me On Twitter @SamIAmOnFood

Christmas Gift

Multi-national financial services corporation releases first installment of holiday shopping survey

During the holiday shopping season, Visa will be revealing information it receives regarding consumer spending and intentions about their purchases. On Tuesday, Nov 12 Visa released the first part of its Series titled the Visa Spending Intentions Survey, with more installments to come as the holiday shopping season ramps up.

Visa handles nearly half of all e-commerce transactions worldwide. That is an incredible amount of data, as web transactions in retail have reached $47.5 billion in 2013’s third-quarter.  As consumers prepare for holiday shopping, it is becoming clear that 2013 will be another growth year for e-commerce, with no end to that trend in sight. Data from the Visa Spending Intentions Survey shows 87 percent of people plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping on the web, with 40 percent reporting they will complete at least half of their holiday buying online. 

Shopping online has become more popular, to the point of almost becoming the norm, for a number of reasons. The Visa survey finds that 67 percent of consumers find the convenience of shopping anytime is the biggest draw of e-commerce. Online stores avoid the overhead costs of brick-and-mortar stores, allowing web stores to sell merchandise at a lower price than physical stores. This aspect of e-commerce was found to be the draw for 61 percent of those surveyed.

Crowds are almost always out in full-force between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, and some people love the communal aspect of holiday shopping, while others downright loathe it. The survey finds that 54 percent of holiday shoppers find e-commerce appealing because of their disdain for battling crowds. At least some aspect of holiday shopping makes the crowd-hating Scrooges happy.

Mobile Payments Will Drive The Sleigh Of Holiday Shopping

For some retailers, the holiday shopping season represents up to 40 percent of total sales. This is big business for both large and small retailers. The Visa Spending Intentions Survey finds that 2013 might be the year of the small business in holiday shopping. More than 85 percent of those surveyed say they are just as inclined, if not more so, to shop at a local or small business versus last year. Almost half of those holiday shoppers plan on spending between $301 and $800 on gifts, while 14 percent of surveyed shoppers expect to spend in excess of $800. Additionally, the Visa survey shows 72 percent of consumers will spend the same amount of money, or more, on holiday gifts this year compared to last year. Figures like those have to be putting a Grinch-like smile upon the faces of retailers.

Electronic payments are becoming more and more popular as retailers unveil more omni-channel options for customers. Credit and Debit cards remain the most popular forms of payment this holiday shopping season, with 56 percent of shoppers planning to use a credit card and 30 percent planning to use a debit card for their purchases. Mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, are making their way into the mainstream of holiday shopping. The survey found that 25 percent of holiday shoppers plan to incorporate a mobile device into their shopping. This is up three percent from 2012’s holiday shopping season.

Visa’s Chief Economist, Wayne Best, will be releasing additional information about the behaviors, inclinations, and intentions of this year’s holiday shoppers. Look for additional data from Visa about the holiday season, which analysts are saying will be slightly optimistic, at key junctures — perhaps Black Friday and mid-December — of the biggest selling period for retailers.

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