Christmas Came Early! Our First Consumer Insights Of The Holiday Season

Blonde woman looking at phone holiday shopping and looking at reviews.

This post was written by Forrester Senior Researcher Nicole Murgia.

Each year, Bizrate Insights, a voice of the customer solution provider and Forrester’s research partner, fields surveys of US online consumers before, during, and just after the holiday season.  Following Thanksgiving and Cyber Week, Bizrate Insights shared some aggregated initial insights from their 2023 holiday surveys with us. Here’s what we learned so far about how consumers are shopping this holiday season:

  • Most US consumers surveyed opted to shop online during Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Week. Fully 88% of US online consumers said they prefer to shop online rather than go to crowded stores during Thanksgiving weekend. When it came time to shop those weekends, consumers stayed true to their word: 64% said they shopped online pre-Thanksgiving week, 65% shopped online during Thanksgiving weekend, and 63% shopped online on Cyber Monday.

  • Consumers expect mobile experiences and functionality to meet many shopping needs. US consumers are increasingly comfortable researching and buying on their smartphone. In fact, Forrester’s 2023 survey found that, throughout the year, 58%of US online adult smartphone users regularly use their smartphone to research products and services prior to purchasing (and that’s up from 54% a year earlier). Additionally, 63% have used smartphones to make a purchase, also up from 59% the year prior. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Bizrate Insights found that US online adults used their mobile device to make purchases (79%), browse and research products (51%), check prices (43%), and read ratings and reviews (29%).

  • Holiday sales drove some consumers make impulse purchases. When Bizrate Insights asked how US consumers feel about online deals, promotions, and specials during the holidays, 30% of them agreed that, “I love deals! The more, the merrier.” Additionally, 18% will only buy during the holidays if they have a deal, sale, or promotion – and 12% said deals will prompt them to buy even if they weren’t already planning to buy an item. In fact, 28% of US consumers said the primary reason they made a purchase during Thanksgiving weekend / Cyber Monday was because the discount was too good to pass up, even though they weren’t planning to purchase the item until they saw the discount.

  • Consumers have taken advantage of a variety of promotions and fulfillment options. Bizrate Insights also found that 60% of US consumers say they have redeemed free shipping offers this holiday season, and 14% have already taken advantage of “last minute” shipping options (2-3 day shipping). Around one in five (22%) US consumers have placed a buy online and pick up in store order, and 13% have made an online purchase with instant / one-click check out features.

As we near the final weeks for end of year holiday shopping, stay tuned for more insights on how consumer shopping habits played out this season in our post-holiday recaps. In the meantime, be sure to check out our full 2023 holiday prep blog series.