Research from Toluna, reveals that Amazon is still the go-to shopping channel for Christmas gifts, with 59% of UK consumers planning to do more than a quarter of their Christmas shopping via the well-known e-commerce platform.
However, comparison with a similar study undertaken in 2012 reveals the initial novelty value of online shopping is wearing off and consumers are less excited about the benefits. This is illustrated by the decreasing popularity of price comparison sites, with only 39% of consumers planning to use them for Christmas shopping for 2014 compared with 47% in 2012.
There appears to be a gradual return to in-store shopping as the number of consumers planning to do most of their festive shopping online has decreased (35% in 2012, 33% in 2014) and the proportion of those planning to do most shopping in-store has increased (25% in 2012, 28% in 2014).
Further evidence of a fall in popularity of online shopping is a drop in the number of consumers stating that the ability to easily find the best price was their main reason for shopping online (60% in 2014, compared to 66% in 2012). Other factors that made online shopping popular – saving time and petrol, avoiding the crowds, and free shipping and returns – have also reduced in importance.
A possible shift towards more traditional gifts is indicated as the percentage of consumers planning to buy technology products this year has reduced to 42% from 47% in 2012. A slight increase in planned smartphone purchases (13% in 2012, 14% in 2014) coincides with a reduction in plans to buy cameras or camcorders (7% in 2012, 5% in 2014) presumably because high quality images and videos can now be captured on smartphones.
Considering online shoppers, more are planning to use their smartphone (4% in 2012, 6% in 2014) or their tablet (7% in 2012, 11% in 2014), while fewer are expecting to use desktop PCs (35% in 2012, 32% in 2014) and laptops (50% in 2012, 45% in 2014).
Social media will be playing a greater role in Christmas shopping than it did two years ago with 6% getting inspiration from Twitter about what to buy, compared with 2% in 2012, and 3% finding ideas on Pinterest compared with <1% in 2012. Facebook continues to dominate this arena, with 19% of consumers (18% in 2012) making use of the platform for information when Christmas shopping.
Other notable findings from the study include:
- The total amount spent on Christmas gifts has remained relatively steady, with the largest proportion of consumers spending between £100 and £299 (41% in 2012, 38% in 2014).
- Shopping directly through a retailer’s website has decreased in popularity with 73% planning to shop on a store’s website in 2014 compared with 81% in 2012.
- Consumers are sceptical about cashless payment technology, with only 11% (consistently in 2012 and 2014) reporting they would pay in-store using their mobile phone if possible.