The UK holiday shopping season is on pace to hit two major milestones this year. The holiday season, which eMarketer defines as November and December, is the most important retail period in nearly all major European markets.
Even with the ubiquity of digital buying, the in-store shopping experience continues to have importance. And even more so with younger consumers.
According to an August 2018 Pitney Bowes survey of US digital shoppers, 56% of respondents said they encountered an issue while purchasing gifts online last holiday season, up from 36% the prior year.
Retailers believe that early birds and primetime shoppers are the most important holiday audience. Procrastinators? Not so much.
Nearly half of US internet users surveyed by Periscope By McKinsey said they plan to shop for Black Friday deals online.
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.
For the 2018 holiday season, eMarketer expects total US retail sales to grow 4.1% to $986.8 billion, with ecommerce jumping 16.2% to $123.4 billion.
More than half of respondents (54%) plan to shop for premium groceries this holiday season, according to a recent survey from Accenture.
Based on consumer surveys, the holiday season is shaping up to be more mobile-driven and social media-influenced than in years past. According to PwC, the 2018 holiday shopping period is on track to be one of the strongest since 2005.
Impersonal or practical, gift cards are integral to the holiday season. Purchases of gift cards also keep rising every year. In 2017, US internet users purchased an average of 6.5 gift cards and 6.1 digital cards, up from 5.9 and 4.0 in 2016, according to First Data.