Two-Thirds of Holiday Shoppers Will Go Mobile This Season

The tradition of soaking up festive cheer will continue drawing consumers to brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season, but the convenience of mobile will drive an increase in browsing and buying on smartphones, according to a new survey of consumers by Signal, the global leader in real-time, cross-channel marketing technology.

The survey of 500 U.S. consumers found that the customer journey will be more cross-channel than ever during the 2015 holiday season. 82% of respondents say they plan to shop in stores this holiday season, and 85% plan to shop from desktops or laptops. However, the shopping trend is increasingly moving toward mobile, with:

  • 67% of consumers saying they plan to browse more frequently from smartphones or tablets than last holiday season.
  • 60% of consumers reporting they plan to buy more frequently from smartphones or tablets than last holiday season.

“Mobile is critical during the holiday season because of the convenience it offers to time-crunched shoppers who can browse or buy the perfect gift for a loved one anytime, anywhere,” said Mike Sands, CEO, Signal. “But even today’s busy, always-on consumers still want to enjoy the festivity of the season, and for many, browsing in stores is an important part of getting into the holiday spirit. To convert these cross-channel customers and capture a larger share of consumer spend this holiday season, retailers need to do a better job of aligning digital and in-store experiences.”

While consumers are browsing and buying on mobile more frequently, there are still barriers that prevent smartphone purchases:

  • 58% of survey respondents say they would purchase more frequently from their smartphones if they felt confident about the security of the purchase
  • 56% say they would purchase more frequently from smartphones if it was easier to see products on a smartphone screen
  • 49% would purchase more frequently from smartphones if it was easier to enter information on mobile devices
  • 47% would purchase more frequently from smartphones if they could experience the product like they were buying in person

These hyper-connected, harried holiday shoppers also demand relevant experiences. To capture their attention this holiday season, survey respondents said retailers should provide deals and discounts relevant to them (84%) and offer a personalized experience everywhere they shop (54%).

To provide the best holiday shopping experience, Signal recommends retailers consider the following steps in their holiday strategies: 

  1. Unite in-store and mobile shopping environments.

Because holiday shoppers are browsing and buying in stores, online, and via mobile, retailers should consider integrating these environments to be relevant no matter where customers are. Customers who make the effort to visit a store will be excited to touch and feel products, but may not want to haul their packages back home with them. Implement secure buy buttons on mobile apps, or equip sales staff with tablets to enable quick in-store purchases that can be delivered to customers’ homes. For those shoppers who are browsing on mobile before heading in-store, provide multiple product photos, product reviews, and product videos to give the right amount of information for the research phase. 

  1. Understand customers across channels to provide highly personalized, relevant experiences.

While uniting offline and online experiences is a step toward embracing the multichannel holiday, retailers must also leverage the engagement data from these interactions to provide the most relevant experiences possible.

“Retailers tell us they need the ability to know who their customers are, wherever they are, and they want to be able to act on that knowledge and insight,” Sands said. “By capturing and merging data at every step of the customer journey, retailers can develop rich, holistic customer profiles to personalize shopping experiences and provide relevant messages.”

To act on these learnings, retailers should consider strategies like sending a customer a mobile coupon to be redeemed in store for a product they browsed but didn’t buy on their device.

  1. Take advantage of heightened holiday traffic to know more about your customers.

Perhaps the biggest gift retailers will receive during the holiday season is heightened customer traffic as consumers shop not only for loved ones, but also for themselves:

  • 80% of survey respondents say they purchase for themselves during the holiday season.
  • They’ll be doing so across all channels – 67% on desktop computers, 57% in-store, 53% on smartphones and 40% on tablets.

This rich behavioral data can be captured and mined not only during the upcoming holiday season but also in 2016 retail strategies and beyond.

“Retailers are feeling confident about the 2015 holiday season, and most are expecting increased consumer spending,” Sands said. “Taking steps now to leverage first-party data and resolve cross-channel identity will put retailers ahead of the game in their holiday strategies, and help them provide the personalized, relevant shopping experiences that will turn browsers into buyers for years to come.”

To learn more about Signal and how to harness engagement data to create and act on meaningful customer identities, visit here.

About Signal

Signal is the global leader in real-time, cross-channel marketing technology. Signal’s Fuse Platform helps marketers collect data from any offline or online source, resolve identity across all consumer touch points, and deliver unified profiles to any marketing or analytics endpoint – all in real time. The platform is ecosystem-neutral and helps data and marketing technologies work better together, driving increased engagement, loyalty, and conversions.

Signal’s technology runs on more than 45,000 digital properties in 158 countries. Our platform facilitates billions of data requests monthly, supporting top brands around the world that generate more than $1.5 trillion in commerce, including Allstate, Audi, Crate & Barrel, JetBlue Airways, Starcom MediaVest Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and many more. Visit to learn more and follow Signal on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Media Contact

Kari Brownsberger

Originally published July 29, 2015

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