Holiday Shoppers Choose the Same Stores Online and Offline

Spending will be omnichannel but Amazon, Walmart and Target take the largest share

Author: Krista Garcia

October 10, 2018

Consumer sentiment indicates that shoppers are feeling flush this holiday season. More are confident about the economy and plan to up their gift spending this year

According to a September 2018 Field Agent study, US holiday shoppers said they would spend more in all holiday categories, including gifts, groceries for meals and decorations.

The usual suspects filled the top three spots when shoppers were asked where they would spend the most on holiday gifts. Walmart was chosen by 65%, Amazon by 62% and Target rounded out the responses (39%). Amazon and Walmart swapped places when consumers had to choose just one retailer.

Most of these retailers are also present on our list of top US companies ranked by ecommerce sales. Bath & Body Works and GameStop are not, however, reflecting the popularity of fragrances, beauty products and video games as gifts. 

Most consumers shop both online and offline, and this is no different during the holidays. The vast majority (79%) said they were very or completely likely to buy gifts by digital means this year. The list of retailers where these shoppers plan to spend the most looks similar to where they plan to spend overall, but Amazon took a far larger share (67%). Walmart was No. 2 (19%), followed by Target (6%), eBay (5%) and Best Buy (2%).

Mobile commerce is set to drive online holiday sales this year, as well. More than half (57%) were also very or completely likely to use a retail app, though not necessarily for purchases. Walmart (70%) Amazon (68%) and Target (27%) were top picks.

The leading product categories for planned digital purchases were electronics (48%), entertainment (44%) and clothing (44%). Interestingly, the most wanted items by married couples did not reflect what their spouses were buying. The iPhone X was tops on both men's and women's wish lists, but smartphones ranked 14th with only 12% of wives planning to buy a device for their husbands. Wives are more likely to get their wish fulfilled since 23% of husbands plan on buying smartphones as gifts, though that still placed eighth. 

Maybe this makes sense considering that the top criteria for buying a gift was affordability (59%). Fewer were motivated by surprising the recipient (46%), sentimentality (41%) or even product reviews (37%).