With the holidays nearly upon us, shoppers are gearing up for a gifting season that often puts them in the hole, yet traditionally propels retailers into the black. But this festive season, will shoppers flock to Walmart’s omnichannel experience or give their holiday dollars to online tour de force Amazon?
The 2018 U.S. Holiday Shopping Forecast by CPC Strategy set about to learn what shoppers have planned for the fourth quarter of 2018, from where they’ll shop, to the budgets they’ve set aside for gift-giving and everything else that goes along with December’s annual celebrations.
Though Walmart might like to think it’s locked in a head-to-head battle with Amazon, for shoppers the choice is crystal clear. The e-commerce behemoth is the top destination for 80.1% of surveyed shoppers and is on track to grab nearly half of all online sales by year end. Nearly 25 percent fewer shoppers said they’ll log onto Walmart’s dot-com presence for their holiday needs, though the big-box retailer should be pleased with grabbing that 56.7% of consumers, according to CPC Strategy. What’s more, the Walmart shopper tends to be older and female: 70 percent of those who stated plans to do their seasonal shopping with the retailer are 45 to 54 years old, in line with 2016 Kantar Retail research finding that the average Walmart customer is a half-century old and earns $53,125 annually.
Taken in sum, these findings “hint at a successful holiday season for the discount big box retailer that’s been doubling down on efforts to compete with Amazon,” the report said.
Meanwhile, retailers might not appreciate news that shoppers are more budget-conscious this year. Versus their spending last year, more consumers said they plan to shell out less on gifts than those who said holiday shopping will take a bigger hit to their bank accounts, 20.3% to 11.8%. The bulk of respondents (67.9%) said their seasonal spending will hold steady year-on-year. What’s more, a larger group (22 percent) said their shopping tally will total less than $100 compared to the 13 percent whose planned spending will exceed $500.
But maybe—just maybe—this is all a moot point anyway. That’s because a sizable chunk of consumers told CPC Strategy they will have wrapped up their shopping before the Thanksgiving turkey even makes it into the oven. And others plan to buck the traditional holiday shopping cadence in their own ways. The number of people planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday is down 2 percent, and activity on those specific days is expected to drop 4.8% and 3.5%, respectively. That’s good news for the retail workers who’d prefer to enjoy the day at home with food and family.
Women, habitual shoppers that they tend to be, are the most likely to have obtained all of their presents purchased before Turkey Day, according to CPC Strategy. “It’s very possible that your customers have already purchased the majority of their holiday gifts for the year,” the report noted.
“Amazon has eliminated the date dependency and urgency of Thanksgiving weekend by offering deals all year long and by instituting the shopping holiday to end all others: Prime Day,” according to the report. “Considering Amazon’s Prime Day is in July, it’s quite possible that the 40 percent of respondents who reported plans to shop for gifts before Thanksgiving already purchased gifts for the season on the platform.”