Nearly three-fourths of the 2,000 consumers surveyed across the US and UK prefer convenience over price as the key reason why they would shop online this holiday, according to research from Wipro Digital, the digital transformation business of Wipro Ltd (NYSE: WIT). More than 60% of consumers expect to do their holiday shopping online, up 10 percentage points from the 50% seen in 2013.
Nearly 50% of consumers, of the 2,000 who were surveyed, report they will do both their research and buying online. Neither “Showrooming” nor “webrooming” are expected to be common this season with less than 5% of consumers reporting that they will research in-store and buy online or research online and buy in store. However, consumers haven’t abandoned physical stores entirely: over 80% want to be able to match an in-store promotion when shopping online, but six in ten consumers expect difficulty in doing that.
According to consumers, there are not enough reasons or incentives to shop in-store. Less than 10% think prices are more competitive in-store or that the sales staff is knowledgeable and only slightly more believe physical stores provide a more personalized experience. Parking is another disincentive with nearly half expecting to have trouble finding parking space. However, shipping charges have the potential to drive more people back to the store, particularly in the US where this is seen as a larger concern with online shopping. Shipping costs are particularly a barrier for consumer goods companies selling direct to consumers who don’t want to pay for shipping.
Convenience continues to play a part of the Holiday travel experience. While a majority (56%) expects inevitable weather delays while travelling, a large majority of consumers prefer to communicate with their travel provider via text or email, including rebooking. Only one fourth of travellers are happy to call a toll-free number to rebook. Perhaps that’s due to an expected wait time of nearly 20 minutes, as seen through the survey. On the other hand, half of consumers do not mind calling a toll-free number if it’s for technical support with a new mobile phone. But for those consumers receiving a new mobile device around the Holiday time, less than one third think it will be easy to transfer data between devices. This Holiday Season, smartphones are expected to make up 80% of mobile device purchases. At the same time, over 30% of consumers stick with their current plan or device out of fear of challenges in making a switch.
Research also found that mobile payments are not expected to be a common payment method this Season with less than 5% using them – which is the same proportion of people using checks. However, that represents an increase from last year of nearly one fourth of consumers. Online banking increases during the Holiday Season according to one third of those taking part. For those going into a branch (less than 30%), the main reason is to get fresh and crisp bills to give as gifts.
Looking ahead, consumers are expecting to wait an average of 20 minutes in line when returning a product at a store. If given the option to return a gift online, nearly 80% favor this if they can get an immediate credit. But if they have to wait to receive their credit, this drops by in half. Methodology This Pre Holiday Consumer Survey is based on 2,000 online respondents in the US and UK of ages 18-50 polled from December 8-10, 2014. Wipro Digital will conduct a Post-Holiday Consumer Survey in January 2015 to compare expectations with actual experiences.