Online Shoppers Have Big Expectations This Holiday Season

But Only Those Brands That Connect With Consumers Will Win

A new survey reveals that consumers possess heightened expectations for shopping online this holiday season. The most successful retailers during this period will be those that differentiate their offerings through personalization to win over consumers.

The survey is from Optimizely, the San Francisco-based provider of a cloud-based solution for digital commerce and marketing automation. Optimizely commissioned Regina Corso Consulting to conduct a survey of more than 5,000 consumers in the US, the UK, Germany, Australia, and Sweden to understand their preferences and habits when it comes to digital experiences, including those related to the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The survey results showed that consumers are banking their hopes on a more extravagant holiday shopping experience this year. At least 55% of consumers worldwide, including 66% of Americans, said they would do even more online shopping for holiday gifts than ever before, with the expectation that their budget for holiday shopping will increase 21% on average compared to last year’s levels.

Like last year, a majority of shoppers—56% overall, including 66% of US shoppers and 60% of UK consumers—plan to do their holiday shopping online through mobile apps and websites. However, web and mobile are not the only online channels for consumers to do their holiday shopping. In fact, nearly half of respondents—47% globally and 52% among Americans—said they get inspiration for holiday gifts from social media ads.

All signs point to a ripe opportunity for retailers, the Optimizely survey suggests, but only if they can deliver excellent experiences online. More than one-third of global consumers—35%, to be exact—expect their holiday shopping experience online with brands to be better than that last year. However, personalization will be the key element to delivering on these heightened expectations. At least 63% of respondents—the figure jumps to 68% among German consumers—say they are more likely to do their holiday shopping with brands that personalize the experience according to their needs and preferences. While brands should be delivering excellent digital experiences for consumers throughout the year, the stakes are especially high during the holiday season, said Alex Atzberger, CEO of Optimizely. “Retailers have a captive audience of consumers who are seeking relevant content, ideas and offers online,” he said. “However, only the brands that have progressed their digital maturity through experimentation and personalization to become adaptive to consumer needs will differentiate and win over shoppers.”

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.


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