Prepare for a Very Mobile Holiday, According to RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot, Inc., the digital promotions marketplace, released its annual holiday insights guide to help retailers better understand consumer shopping trends and behaviors during the holiday shopping season.

The full report includes a combination of RetailMeNot's internal data based on billions of consumer actions and tens of thousands of retailers' promotions, consumer trend surveys and third party research over the last three holiday seasons.  

"There is a growing perception amongst consumers — right or wrong — that discounts and deals on Black Friday aren't always worth the wait.  Increasingly, shoppers are looking for promotional opportunities earlier in the holiday buying cycle. Retailers do not appear, according to our research, to be fully taking advantage of consumers promotional appetites during this post-Labor Day period," said Michael Jones, senior vice president, retail and brand solutions, RetailMeNot, Inc. "As the majority of consumers roam the mall and shop from their couch armed with smartphones, RetailMeNot's research also shows that retailers who invest in these digital channels with varied omni-channel promotions will build their brands, better engage shoppers, and improve sales conversions in those mobile moments."

Based on the RetailMeNot data and consumer research, our holiday insights guide centered around four key insights:

1. Consumers are browsing and buying well before Black Friday. Retailers should ensure that their brands are there to meet consumers at this point of discovery.
According to RetailMeNot internal data, holiday shopping in 2014 really gained steam on November 1, 2014, with consumer interest in deal seeking trending up more than 20 percent compared to the October 2014 search average.
A consumer survey conducted by RetailMeNot and Kelton Global in September 2015 found that 54 percent of shoppers expect retailer holiday promotions to begin in October or earlier, and 85 percent expect these deals to begin before Black Friday.

Outside of Thanksgiving weekend, the amount of deals offered by retailers fluctuated wildly throughout November in past years. The volume of offers dipped to a low point on November 1, which is a day that many consumers are poised to begin their search.

2.  Having an ever-present strategy is key. Consumers don't shop for everything on their list at once. According to RetailMeNot internal data, category affinity tends to change throughout the season:
A holiday traveler looking to plan a winter getaway in advance of the season finds an average discount of 33 percent off during the month of October.
Unsurprisingly, electronics and computers hit their peak from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday and then into the first week of December. With an average discount ranging from 38 to 40 percent off, retailers may want to consider providing additional incentives to stand out from the competition.

3.  It's going to be a very mobile holiday. Mobile browsing is gaining increased influence over purchases made across channels.
RetailMeNot data shows the gap between desktop and mobile impressions closed between 2013 and 2014. Mobile app visits and transactions should continue to climb during the 2015 holiday season, and if trends continue, we may see mobile Web visits surpass desktop as well.

4.  In-store opportunities abound.  Retailers should take advantage of mobile moments that influence in-store purchasing decisions.

Nine out of ten purchases are still made in-store
RetailMeNot data shows that shoppers tend to visit certain retail categories more often on their mobile devices. Brands in these categories may benefit from strong in-store offer content as shoppers browse their aisles with mobile devices in hand.

Apparel, Home & Garden and Multi-category are the top three categories where shoppers request more in-store promotional content on the RetailMeNot app.

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