This Report Says Amazon Prime Day Actually Kicked Off Holiday Shopping

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This Report Says Amazon Prime Day Actually Kicked Off Holiday Shopping

11/22/2017
The 2017 holiday shopping season is in full gear, and according to Rakuten Marketing, 92 percent of U.S. consumers have already opened their wallets in support of what the company indicates will be a solid selling period for U.S. retailers.

The 2017 holiday shopping season is in full gear, and according to Rakuten Marketing, 92 percent of U.S. consumers have already opened their wallets in support of what the company indicates will be a solid selling period for U.S. retailers. Results and executive comments from the Rakuten Marketing Insights 2017 Consumer Holiday Shopper Survey, conducted in partnership with Qualtrics, were released on Nov. 22. The data reveals consumer shopping and spending expectations, as well as preferences for products, discounts and shipping for the 2017 holiday season.

According to the survey, 24 percent of respondents initiated their shopping during the summer period, while 59 percent began holiday shopping in the early fall. Amazon Prime Day, July 12, 2017, helped further influence the early start to the 2017 holiday shopping season. Forty-seven percent of surveyed consumers reportedly shopped on Amazon Prime Day this year, and 42 percent of them said it could affect their holiday spending, while 44 percent said it could make them less likely to shop on other peak shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Amazon reported record sales for July 12, 2017 – a day that outpaced sales figures from both Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 combined. Other retailers went head-to-head with Amazon offering their own deals as well.

"Prime Day deals incentivize shoppers to get an early start on their holiday shopping, taking off some cost pressure for consumers during the traditional holiday shopping season," said Rakuten Marketing CEO Tony Zito. "This is a marked shift in traditional retail patterns that is triggering changes in retail promotional strategies, including an extended peak holiday shopping period that has started as early as two weeks in advance of Black Friday this year."

According to Rakuten Marketing, Millennials (ages 18-34) are especially likely to be among early-bird shoppers, being 38 percent more likely to start shopping by October 31 than Baby Boomer (ages 51-69) and Gen X (ages 35-50) shoppers. The shopping season clearly kicked-off early this year; however, 53 percent of surveyed shoppers noted they would spread their shopping budgets over the course of the full 2017 shopping season and not complete their shopping until December, amid plans to seek out additional promotions, sales and deals

"This holiday shopping season is a unique environment for buying and selling, with unprecedented levels of growth opportunity for brands," said Zito. "Merchants need to realize that during this busy holiday time, while consumers are in a shopping mind set, every missed touchpoint is likely capitalized on by their competitors.

"Now is the time for marketers to make sure they're adequately investing in reaching consumers at the right time, with the right frequency, and with the right creative and content to ensure they don't miss opportunities for sales," Zito continued. "Retailers who take the necessary steps to do this will have a successful and profitable holiday season."

Seventy-five percent of consumers plan to spend the same or more money on their 2017 holiday shopping compared to 2016, with 43 percent saying they will spend between $100 - $499; 26 percent spending between $500 - $ 999; and 18 percent spending between $1,000 and $1,999. 

Black Friday is expected to dominate as the peak selling day with 57 percent of respondents choosing it over any other sales day, and 38 percent of consumers noting they will spend more on Black Friday than other days, including Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving Day.

That said, Rakuten Marketing figures indicate Black Friday retail sales reflect more than a single day, with the peak sales period expected to start two weeks before Black Friday. Rakuten Marketing has also found, while Single's Day awareness is still low (62 percent of survey respondents don't know about Single's Day), it is growing in the U.S., as consumers spent 19 percent more on Single's Day via the company's affiliate network this year than in 2016.

The leading spend categories among consumers this year are apparel and toys. Thirty-one percent of consumers ranked apparel as their top gift category, with 26 percent ranking toys as number one. Electronics and gift cards tied at 11 percent.

Online is expected to be the most popular destination for holiday purchasing this year, cited by 58 percent of consumers. Online is also the most popular destination for holiday gift research, with 66 percent of consumers planning to research online versus 34 percent who plan to research in-store.

The survey also found that desktop is still the primary platform for both online purchases and research, specifically among Gen Xers (51 percent) and Baby Boomers (55 percent); compared to Millennials who prefer to use mobile browsers and apps (53 percent).

Free shipping is by far the most important shipping option among survey respondents, with 79 percent citing it as the top choice. Next ranked is free shipping on returns with 43 percent of consumers indicating it as a top option, followed by overnight shipping (ranked as the third highest priority by 27 percent) and same-day shipping (ranked as fourth highest by 13 percent). Forty-six percent of consumers also indicated they would opt to go to a physical store to find a gift versus paying for expedited shipping.

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