More than 1-in-5 consumers purchased or browsed for products online via a mobile device when holiday shopping for themselves or others, according to global information company The NPD Group. That number was double among millennial consumers, between the ages of 18 and 34.
"Online shopping continues to grow in importance, and Holiday 2015 was a clear example of this, with mobile playing a key role," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. "Consumers, especially the younger generations, are demanding a new kind of shopping experience, and retailers need to be prepared in order to be able to capture their attention."
Mobile devices also played a role for shoppers who couldn't find what they wanted. Almost a quarter of holiday shoppers had difficulty finding everything they planned to purchase, and when this happened, 11 percent searched for those products online via a mobile device.
"Shopping on a mobile device is something consumers can do while still in the store, and something retailers can use to their benefit, rather than letting a potential sale walk," added Cohen. "Shoppers have access to a broader product assortment online, so they feel like they have more options. This dynamic is more powerful than using heavy promotions to counteract the lack of new products being offered in many industries."
Promotions helped to engage consumers, but they didn't necessarily have a lasting impact. Nearly three-quarters of shoppers took advantage of sales offered during the 2015 holiday shopping season, and almost half of all consumers purchased something for themselves while holiday shopping. However, 17 percent of shoppers said they returned, or planned to return, those products they purchased for themselves. That number is higher than those who planned to return gifts they received from others, illustrating the limitations to a heavy promotional approach.
"In order to drive measurable sales growth and long-term success, retailers need to work harder at finding new ways to engage shoppers, utilizing a cohesive omni-channel and omni-present approach, while also giving consumers the fresh and exciting product offerings they crave," concluded Cohen.