Skip to main content

In-Store vs. Online: New Data Suggests People Prefer to Shop at Home

shopping online mobile device

It is undeniable that in-store purchases account for much of yearly retail sales; the number of dollars spent reaches well into the billions. But new data from Criteo suggests that e-commerce is gradually catching up, especially during the holiday season.

The performance marketing technology company examined about 200 different retailers and 63.7 million online transactions during the 2014 holiday season. The results may be useful to retailers, such as Target, that insist on being open on holidays like Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

“The path to purchase for today’s consumer has evolved and, as a result, people are doing a tremendous amount of online shopping,” said James Smith, executive vice president of the Americas at Criteo. “Retail companies have a huge opportunity to engage consumers through personalized and relevant online advertising during the entire spending period.”

While many consumers will still wait in line to pick up their holiday goodies in stores, Criteo found that more and more people are opting to shop in the comfort of their own homes. The National Retail Federation forecast that people will spend $630.5 billion during the 2015 shopping season and nearly 50 percent of these shoppers will browse or buy online, oftentimes using a combination of devices—including laptops, tablets and smartphones—to do so.

Criteo said retailers should take this as a message to advertise on all types of platforms, because consumers will be present on more than one.

The company also found that Black Friday is becoming more of a digital event as shoppers increasingly use mobile devices to make purchases. Last year, many retailers’ Black Friday e-commerce sales were almost as high as those of Cyber Monday. Big name merchants saw online sales up 275 percent on Black Friday compared to the non-holiday season.

In addition, bursts of online shopping are not limited to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but are expanding further into the week. Criteo found that sales remain relatively high on Bounceback Tuesday (what Criteo calls the day after Cyber Monday). Despite the rise of prices, sales reached 159 percent above the average.