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More Online Shoe Shoppers Will Turn to Amazon This Holiday Season

This holiday, Amazon will be the platform of choice for those shopping shoes.

A survey commissioned by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) and conducted by Emerson College found that 57 percent of online shoppers plan to buy their footwear from Amazon over the holiday season.

And, Amazon’s lead continues to grow, according to FDRA’s 2018 Online Holiday Shoe Sales Survey, which interviewed 800 shoppers who were either likely or somewhat likely to purchase footwear for the holidays.

Last year, 49 percent of shoppers said they preferred Amazon, and 44 percent did so in 2016. Men were quite a bit more likely to favor the retail giant for holiday shopping at 67 percent, compared to 48 percent favorability among women.

When it comes to footwear sales from other outlets, 12 percent of consumers said they prefer the specific footwear brand’s website, and 18 percent expressed plans to visit a retailer’s website to make their footwear purchases.

Overall, 31 percent of respondents surveyed said they were “very likely” to be online shoe shoppers over the next couple of months. The period after Thanksgiving was the most popular period among respondents, with 49 percent saying they would shop online for shoes during that time. The next most popular time period will be the first two weeks of December, with 25 percent of respondents saying they would likely make their purchases between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15.

The most common reasons given for making footwear purchases online were the perceived difference in price and variety. In fact, 41 percent respondents with a college degree or higher listed “easier to compare prices” as the top reason for shopping online, while 46 percent of those without a degree listed “greater variety” as their main motivation for purchasing online.

Either way, 65 percent of respondents admitted to using a combination of searches to make a purchase, suggesting online shoppers still purchase through that channel due to the ease of finding information about a product. Forty-four percent of online shoe shoppers this holiday, a plurality, said that cost was the most important factor for going online—up from 34 percent in 2017.

Another key dichotomy emerged when shoppers were asked which device they would use to make online purchases. By and large, 79 percent of shoppers said they plan to use laptops and desktops to shop for footwear, compared to just 21 percent who said they will use a smartphone or tablet. Breaking that down further, consumers age 30-39 were the most likely group to purchase footwear using a smartphone, while 18- to 29-year-olds were the group with the greatest preference for laptops.

As far as the particular shoe styles shoppers are looking for, the data is split by gender. Among men, 37 percent will be looking for gym or performance sneakers, and 31 percent will seek out casual or retro sneakers. Fashion dress shoes came in at 14 percent, and boots at 4 percent.

There is more variety in footwear preference among women, with 24 percent saying will shop for gym or performance sneakers and another 24 percent looking for casual and retro sneakers. But, beyond those two categories, the options become much more varied—especially for fashion boots—which women prefer 18 percent of the time.

When it comes to spending, the FDRA survey found 56.8 percent of online shoe shoppers are likely to spend between $250 and $500 on footwear over the holidays. Where that money goes will likely depend on the price and variety a retailer can offer, but Amazon’s stranglehold will be hard to overcome.

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