2022 Holiday Season: Better Than Expected

holiday season 2022

A Bizrate Insights/Digital Commerce 360 survey of 1,023 online shoppers conducted in January 2023 shows consumers showed up – and brought their wallets. 

In the midst of political instability, with much talk about recession, the 2022 Holiday Season managed to bring good news to many ecommerce retailers. 

“Black Friday & Cyber Monday were above and beyond more important than December from previous years . We were glad we took the time to maximize that opportunity, as sales after that weekend experienced a bigger drop-off than we had seen in previous years.” – NaturalBeautyGroup

Key takeaways from the survey:

holiday shopping

Shoppers on Amazon purchased 59% more on the retail giant than in 2021. While Amazon continues to dominate, other online marketplaces saw a gain of 27% from 2021. Overall, online consumers spent 36% more than in the previous year.

While spending was about the same as 2021, consumers were more choosy, shopped around more. There was more comparison shopping and less impulse-buying.

The key factors that drove consumers to convert were: Free shipping – 56% | In-stock products – 43% | Competitive prices – 41%

The key factors that drove consumers to convert were: Free shipping - 56% | In-stock products - 43% | Competitive prices - 41%
The key factors driving conversions were: Free shipping – 56% | In-stock products – 43% | Competitive prices – 41%

Other factors were previous experience with the retailer, promotions, loyalty programs, wish lists from family & friends, a flexible return policy, guaranteed delivery times, email offers – and of course, good customer service.

While 33% of consumers kept track of promotions, only 13% of all consumers stated that a promotion was a significant factor for their purchasing decision. Some drawbacks consumers experienced were promotions on items not of interest to the buyer, and limitations that prevented the buyer from taking advantage of the offer.

“Won’t buy online from sellers that charge for returns” – says a survey respondent.

Shipping concerns proved exaggerated. About 40% of purchases arrived in the expected time span, with 30% taking longer and 26% arriving quicker than expected. About 18% of consumers received notifications of delays.

Omnichannel was not as strong a factor as expected. Only 9% of consumers chose a retailer because of BOPIS (buy-online-pickup-in-store) capabilities. Only 8% chose a retailer because of curbside capabilities. Just 8% of all consumers chose to pick up in store for fear of delays.

Returns are a hassle, say 30% of shoppers. One third of shoppers engaged in fewer returns.

Brick-and-mortar stores need not worry: While many shoppers praised the convenience of online shopping, a full 46% of consumers expect to maintain the same level of physical-store shopping in 2023. 22% of respondents expect to decrease in-store shopping, and 32% expect to shop more in local stores.

Winning strategies for 2023: How to win over shoppers next season

How to win over customers: Faster delivery – 32% In-stock inventory – 32% Price-matching and extended return policies – 27%

Consumers voiced a desire for easier shopping, especially on mobile devices. A simpler checkout process, improved search results, better product images and descriptions, and better customer service. Some shoppers (20%) would want promotions to be better tailored to their needs, and about the same number (17%) expressed a distaste for being tracked by advertisers.

“I really want to shop in store in person and be around human beings” – says a survey respondent.

TL:DR: What have we learned?

We can see from these findings that the supply chain held this year. Consumers received what they bought, and most of them received their goods on time. That said, shoppers are becoming more savvy about shopping earlier and being mindful of shipping times.

We can also see an opportunity for improved promotions. Offers that speak more directly to the consumer’s needs, with terms the consumer can meet. 

Amazon continues to dominate, and we can see that what drives this is familiarity, reliability, and confidence in the process – both in the shopping and in the potential return cycle. Smaller retailers can learn from this, and insert language that increases confidence, and add systems that make their process more dependable.

Last but not least, we can see shoppers like EASY. Most of us are overwhelmed during the holiday season. Anything that can simplify our lives is welcome. Think of ways that you can simplify the lives of your shoppers. Simplify your checkout process, potentially by storing their information for faster checkout. Allow them to save, bookmark or favorite items for later shopping. Offer a loyalty program. Build familiarity by greeting customers by first name. Offer promotions that directly resonate with the shopper. 

And of course, don’t operate in the dark. Find out what your customers think and feel with our Voice-of-Customer solutions. Capture their feedback and learn from it. See demographics, sentiment, net-promoter-score and much more.

And the best part of it is, none of the cost of our solutions is shouldered by the retailer. You can implement Bizrate Insights solutions at no cost to you.

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