“It’s just safer to stay at home and shop online,” was the sentiment echoed by a number of grim faced shoppers over the past week. “There’s just the same bargains, if not better on the Internet. No queuing, no pushing, no fights, no chance of witnessing a murder and no problem either parking or waiting for a train or bus. Everything can be done from home. I don’t know why I didn’t stay home to begin with.” Stated Jeremy Anagola of South Tottenham, London.
Amidst the backlash of one of the worst sales results in the history of recorded sales, e-Commerce is emerging as the uncontended victor of the holiday season. In addition, due to the peaceful surroundings of online consumers, brands are able to establish and build a better and longer lasting connection to their customers. In-store customers see themselves as one of many, whereas online, despite the physical absence of a sales assistant, customers feel that they are the only customer of the store at the point of purchase. This gives the store a better opportunity to bond with new and existing customers and offer additional deals to increase the online sale. Add to that, smart targeting, where the store is able to show customers items that would appeal to the customer based on historical purchasing, and it is easy to see why online has taken over the mantle of land based shopping.
According to comScore consumer spending has already recorded a rise of 15%. Forrester Research is predicting the final spending amount to reach $59.5 billion online, compared to $52 billion from last year.
In addition to online shopping, daily deal sites have also had a reasonably good holiday season this year. According to another Forrester report, at least 29% of all online adults have used a daily deal site at least once. However, could be set to change as Brands led by the likes of Walmart, are beginning to understand the value of controlling their own deals and not outsourcing to 3rd party deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social.
Online shopping is also better for returns according to one study. Consumers are more cautious and less impulsive when buying online. Additionally, when it comes to high priced technology items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, consumers have already taken the time to read an average of five to seven reviews per item. Therefore, unless a product is damaged or defective, the likelihood of the item being returned is much lower.