December 22, 2011
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If Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures are anything to go by then consumer spending for this holiday season will continue to break records. It’s all down to a dozen or so emerging shopping trends that Mediaworks thought you would like to hear about.
So without further ado: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Perhaps the most surprising shopping trend to emerge is sales through Social Media. The most interesting part, however, is that these shoppers were found to be twice as likely to buy gifts as people who were shopping at retail. This has led IBM Coremetrics, the company who organised the survey, to predict social media as the next big market retailers will target in 2012.
Part of social medias success is due to the massive networks of people sharing deals and discount codes. As a result people have become far thriftier than they were before but whether that is because of the increase in communication or just because of the dire state of the economy we don’t know.
What I can tell you though, is that these shoppers are using their smartphones to find the best deals, both online and in shops. Mega companies like Amazon and Best Buy have developed versatile and intuitive apps that centre upon user reviews and are encouraging online sales, but consumers are also resorting to specialist apps like barcode scanners and QR code readers to find the cheapest deals whilst in store.
This thrifty attitude means that shoppers are looking to save a penny wherever possible and eCommerce sites have noticed that. So in order to remain competitive many of these sites cut their shipping costs – they can’t afford not to – and this year a monstrous 93% of eCommerce sites offered free shipping.
One of the biggest factors that is driving sales though, is the rise in tablet and smartphone devices. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that Apple devices – arguably the most popular smart-devices – are at the top of everybody’s wish-list with the iPhone 4S at No1.
And who is buying all of these gadgets? Men of course, but joking aside this year has had some truly unusual shopping results for men. You see, according to a Social Shopping Study by Perfomics in 2011, men have out-shopped women in almost every category. How has this happened you might ask? Well, simply because shopping is now electronic – and because stores don’t have enough seats for middle-aged men to fall asleep on – but, Performics found that 63% of men shopped online in 2011 vs. 52% of women and I hate to break it to you ladies, but it is time to pass the torch.
So what were us men buying? According to Performics it was more of the same: Jewellery for the ladies, toys for the babies, home and living for the misgiving and electronics, fashion items and computers for… something that rhymes with computers. No surprises there then.
So instead of running around the shops on Christmas Eve like a maniac, customers are using their extra time to find cheap deals on events, restaurants and things to do in their own city using coupon sites like Groupon and using them with friends. Other sites rely upon word of mouth and notify users of any particularly good deals – once they’ve picked one up themselves, of course.
This emphasis on sharing information is why we expect to see a great deal more video reviews popping up on eCommerce websites. Flashy apps that let you try on clothes simply aren’t good enough at the moment – with exception to the Ray Bans fantastic sunglasses app – and people are much more inclined to trust the opinion of fellow customers. It is also much easier to judge a person if you can see them than if you are just reading their inexpressive txt speak.
This issue of trust is altering the way we shop online. A study by Jarain and Blue Research found that 75% of consumers who were asked to register their details on a website would immediately alter their behaviour: 54% will leave and not return; 55% will return if a site recognises them and 48% are more likely to purchase from a site which recognises them. Does that mean in 2012 websites will begin to find a way to recognise a customer without them having to part with their precious details?
So if you gather round the Mediaworks Magic 8 ball we’ll tell you what we see: There will be a rise in QR codes, Augmented Reality Apps, mobile phones instead of credit cards and even more focus on deals and coupons sites.
Whatever it might be though, the outlook certainly looks good and we look forward to finding out whether our predictions come in the New Year. In the meantime, happy holidays.
…And a partridge in a pear tree.
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