Although 28% of UK consumers expect to do the majority of their shopping online, 60% will be hybrid shoppers, illustrating the need for retailers to bridge the digital and physical to support the 85% of shoppers who expect consistency during every interaction, no matter where it takes place.
So finds data from The 2022 Holiday Report published today by Loqate, which also suggests that supply chain issues and low inventory are motivating consumers to get a jump on shopping as early. Globally, 87% plan to start shopping before December and in the UK specifically, over a fifth (22%) of consumers already began holiday shopping before September.
A further third (31%) plan on starting during November but may be impacted by planned strikes by Royal Mail workers in the UK, which will be held during Black Friday week and Cyber Monday in November.
According to the report, consumers across the globe are concerned about deliveries with 84% of global shoppers concerned about packages arriving on time. Late deliveries continue to have a huge knock-on impact to customer loyalty, with half (51%) of UK respondents saying they would ‘not likely’ make a repeat purchase with a retailer if their initial order did not arrive in time for the holidays. This is significantly larger than the US, where only third (34%) of respondents said the same. Retailers can counter concerns by enhancing their checkout with tools, such as address auto-complete, and exploring alternative fulfilment options to minimise last-mile issues and increase consumer confidence.
Globally, 18% of consumers consider free shipping the most important purchasing factor, while promotions and discounts take the top spot for 17% of shoppers.
The study also finds that check-out can make or break the shopping experience. Consumers expect an easy checkout experience and aren’t afraid to abandon the process. 24% of shoppers say they will abandon their carts if checkout is too complicated. Checkouts will be the most critical part of the digital shopping experience. An auto-complete solution for addresses can help retailers alleviate friction. Shoppers enter as little as three keystrokes and, in as fast as 150 milliseconds are provided with suggestions to auto-complete the address.
Inflation now the biggest consumer concern
Interestingly, the study finds that two thirds (66%) of UK consumers say high inflation is their biggest concern in the lead up to the holiday season, however a quarter (24%) are planning to spend more this Christmas on gifts.
According to the research, consumers who have lived through past economic crises are keeping a more watchful eye on holiday spending than younger generations. Globally only 16% of baby boomers are spending more this year compared to 21% of Gen X, 31% of Millennials and 38% of Gen Z.
“The economy is changing fast, but customer preferences are changing faster, and success for retailers means meeting growing expectations for shopping flexibility and delivery reliability this holiday season,” says Matthew Furneaux, global commercial director at Loqate, a GBG solution. “With the right strategies and tools in place to ensure a pleasant experience wherever consumers shop, retailers can build customer trust and loyalty this holiday season.”