NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A unique GfK study showing how shopping intentions for consumer electronics (CE) compares to actual behavior is largely a story of brick-and-mortar plans becoming online realities.
Combining pre- and post-shopping surveys with extensive behavioral data for the same consumers, GfK tracked the mobile activities of over 120 people who intended to buy consumer electronics in the early holiday period (November 1 through Cyber Monday, November 27).
Over eight in ten (82%) CE “intenders” visited a retailer site or app on their mobile devices during this period, and 44% went to an electronics brand site. By contrast, only half (52%) of these shoppers said they conducted research or made an electronics purchase in a physical store. Looking just at reported purchases, the split was even more pronounced – roughly three in four (74%) bought electronics online (44% mobile; 46% laptop).
Offline plans, online purchases
Early in the season, the intenders expected to spend about half of their electronics budgets online, and the other half in physical stores. In the end, the real split was 64% of dollars to online (of which 24% was purchased via mobile) and just 36% to bricks and mortar. Millennial (ages 18 to 37) CE buyers were even more mobile engaged, spending 30% of their electronics budgets via smartphones or tablets, compared to only 15% for Baby Boomers (ages 53 to 70).
Defining mobile shopping behavior
GfK’s digital tracking of this group’s online electronics shopping and buying affirmed the high levels of reported activity from our surveys. From November 1 through Cyber Monday, the electronics intender group averaged 2.6 shopping sessions on their mobile phones per day – with the most frequent activity occurring on Thanksgiving Day (3.8 sessions per shopper).
Thanksgiving is also when these shoppers visited the most retailer sites and apps (2.4, compared to 1.8 retailer sites/apps on Black Friday and 2.1 on Cyber Monday). But Cyber Monday came out on top in terms of actual time spent using retailer sites or apps (17.2 minutes per electronics shopper versus 12.1 minutes a day average across the period).
Getting a jump on the crowd
Many consumer electronics shoppers hit the websites and stores earlier than expected, in the days right before Thanksgiving, and even on the holiday itself. Almost two-thirds (64%) of these “early birds” were taking advantage of special promotions, while 40% were hoping to avoid crowds, and roughly 21% shopped on the spur of the moment.
Black Friday still drove more traffic (stores or online) than Cyber Monday among electronics intenders, with roughly half (47%) of the intender group shopping on Friday, versus 42% over Cyber Monday week. Roughly the same percentage (26%) made their electronics purchases on each period, though.
“Our unique look at the holiday shopping ramp-up shows that retailers need to communicate early and often during this crucial season,” said Wendy Wallner, GfK’s EVP for Shopper and Retail Strategy. “Retailers should use the week through Thanksgiving to facilitate digital research with easy comparisons, reviews, promotions, and matching the right product based on feature needs. This is a smart, simple way to earn recognition as a leading contender for Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchasing. When it comes to promotions and other ways to direct resources, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both critical.”
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