AUSTIN, Texas, July 9, 2024 – Bazaarvoice, the leading platform for full-funnel authentic user-generated content (UGC) and social commerce solutions, today released its 2024 Global Holiday Season Consumer Behavior Report based on insights from more than 8,000 global consumers. One of the report’s key findings is that online shopping outpaces traditional mall experiences, though both continue to have significant roles in the holiday shopping journey. More than 2,000 respondents were from the United States in the global survey.

Summertime sleigh bells? When holiday shopping takes flight   

According to the report, U.S. shoppers are already gearing up for the holiday season. Almost a quarter of shoppers (21%) will start gift shopping by August or earlier. More than a third of people (32%) will start by September, and more than half (54%) will start by October. 

How soon is too soon to deck the halls? Over a quarter (26%) said it’s never too early. 

  • 49% plan to spend about the same on holiday gifts as last year
  • 36% preferred to buy when they find the right gift, regardless of promotions
  • 19% intend to spread out their purchases rather than concentrate all their shopping on promotional periods such as Black Friday   

Malls still make the list: Where consumers kick off and complete their holiday shopping 

Half of U.S. shoppers begin their holiday shopping online by researching search engines (23%) or looking directly at brand and retailer sites (27%). However, the days of mall Santas and decked-out department stores are not entirely over. Going to the mall is still popular for shoppers who want to start their holiday shopping (20%). Globally, Gen Z was the most likely across all generations to say they started by going to the mall (35%). 

Where did consumers ultimately make holiday purchases last year? As brands and retailers begin sharpening e-commerce and social commerce strategies, the report shows online retail stores (36%) were the most popular choice for U.S. shoppers. The next most popular choice was in-store shopping, with 29% of consumers choosing this method.

Brands and retailers must pivot towards a comprehensive omnichannel strategy to enhance their reach and interactions. This research, and insights from our Channel Mix Study, underscore the necessity of this shift. By closely monitoring and adapting to shoppers’ preferred channels, brands and retailers can ensure they are present in the right place, at the right time, with the right context, effectively balancing the PESO channels—paid, earned, shared, and owned—to optimize their market presence and consumer engagement.

Video content: The preferred format in social media gift searching

Whether aimlessly scrolling or actively looking for gifts, 45% of shoppers say their festive social media shopping is intentional and spontaneous. According to the report, consumers say video format shines brightest when capturing their attention during the holiday season most effectively (37%), with shoppers mostly preferring to watch videos that are 1-5 minutes long (27%), closely followed by videos that are a minute or less (27%). Notably, 36% of shoppers have actively engaged with or come across shoppable content on social media while shopping for holiday gifts last year. 

When asked about the type of content they prefer to see on social media during the holiday season (user-generated, brand-created, or influencer-created), shoppers are split. 44% of consumers prefer brand-created content, while 43% prefer user-generated content. Only 13% prefer influencer-created content. A majority (58%) don’t seek out creator content on social media during the holiday season at all.

“In today’s market, it’s crucial for brands to create authentic and engaging content at the consumer’s preferred place and moment of engagement. With 82% of shoppers emphasizing the importance of seamless experience across multiple channels, leveraging ‘waterholes’ across the journey and integrating online and in-store experiences is crucial for an effective omnichannel strategy.” says Zarina Stanford, CMO, Bazaarvoice.

Bazaarvoice’s 2024 Global Holiday Season Consumer Behavior Report offers valuable insights into the evolving dynamics of holiday shopping. It explores the influence of creator, consumer and brand-generated content, what types of seasonal content shoppers seek during the holiday season, and how they impact purchasing decisions. The full report is available here.

Methodology: 

8,230 consumers aged 18 to 65+ were surveyed about 2024 holiday shopping season preferences across six countries: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia).

About Bazaarvoice

Thousands of leading brands and retailers trust Bazaarvoice’s technology, services, and expertise to drive revenue, extend reach, gain actionable insights, and create loyal advocates. Bazaarvoice’s extensive global retail, social, and search syndication network, product-passionate community, and enterprise-level technology provide brands and retailers with the tools to create smarter shopper experiences across the customer journey.

Founded in 2005, Bazaarvoice is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with offices in North America, Europe, and Australia. For more information, visit www.bazaarvoice.com

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