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Webrooming and Discounts the Focus of 2013 Holiday Shopping

Posted on 10.06.2013

Consider yourself warned - over the next few weeks, you will be inundated with statistics about the 2013 holiday shopping season. Occasionally, research of this nature can yield some powerful insights for Internet professionals; plus, it gives you something to talk about around the virtual water cooler.

Accenture has just released its Holiday Shopping Survey and found that U.S. consumers intend to spend an average of $646 on gifts this holiday - an 11 percent increase, on average, from 2012. Plus, 42 percent of respondents (consumers) said they would spend at least half of their holiday budgets online. That's certainly interesting (and good) news by itself but there are several other rather useful insights for those operating on the Web.

The survey revealed that more shoppers - 63 percent vs 56 percent in 2012 - are likely to participate in "showrooming" (entering physical stores but researching products online) this holiday season. What's also interesting, and this is the first time I have personally heard this term, 65 percent plan to participate in "webrooming", or browsing online and then going into a physical store to make a purchase. Obviously, consumers are concerned with the impact this holiday shopping season will have on their wallets.

Accenture indicated that holiday shoppers will be "keenly focused" on discounts and sales - 94 percent said discounts will be important to their purchasing decisions (up from 84 percent in 2012). 49 percent of the survey's respondents also expect that three-quarters (or more) of their purchases will be discounted or sale items.

Online retailers should be aware that these bargain-conscious U.S. shoppers will be tracking prices very carefully. Thirty-nine percent said that if they discover that an item they have already purchased is subsequently offered at a lower price, they would likely return it and repurchase it. Additionally, 45 percent said they plan to use competitor price-matching tools to track prices, and 24 percent said they will take advantage of extended return policies.

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