2011 Holiday Shopping Season Trends

November 3, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team

It is now officially the 2011 holiday shopping season and a number of recent studies have forecast some interesting trends that will be taking place this season.

Holiday sales in the U.S. are projected to reach $466 billion this year, a nearly three percent rise from last year. Although sales are still rising this year, it is a significantly smaller rise than last years five percent.

Shoppers will be looking to ecommerce solutions more than ever during the 2011 holiday shopping season as they hunt for deals and comparison shop. The majority of online readers surveyed by Shop.org said that they expected their sales to grow at least 15 percent through the holidays. According to NRF’s holiday survey the average person plans to do at least one third of their holiday shopping online. Shoppers will be using the Internet in greater numbers than ever for making actual purchases as well as to research and compare products and prices.

The overarching trend this season is that shoppers are looking for the most bang for their buck and any kind of deal or perk offered by retailers has major potential to influence where, when, and what consumers are putting in their shopping carts. A major factor for shoppers this season is free shipping. 92.5 percent of online retailers say that they will provide free shipping offers through the holidays and 56 percent say that they have a much higher budget for free shipping this year.

Customers are looking for the best deals on purchases, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to spend less. Shoppers are trying to get the most out of their money this season and will be looking for items that can be used or worn frequently rather than spending on something that will only get used once in a while. NRF’s holiday survey also found that people will be spending more on themselves this year. The average person who wants to take advantage of holiday deals will be spending about $130 on themselves compared to $112 last year.

For brick-and-mortar stores Thanksgiving weekend is the time to rack up sales and this year many retailers will be opening their doors earlier than ever. This week Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Target announced that they will be opening their doors at midnight on Thanksgiving night.

Another trend this year is an increase in the amount of shopping done via smartphones and tablets. 70 percent of people who own tablets will use their devices to make purchases through ecommerce solutions. Smartphones will also play a larger role than ever in holiday shopping this season as consumers use them to find products, read reviews, redeem coupons, or find store locations and hours.

The takeaway from all this is that during the 2011 holiday shopping season, customers will be spending more than last year but will be more choosy about what they are spending it on. They will be increasingly turning to ecommerce solutions to find the deals that they are looking for. Retailers can expect their online traffic to increase over the next two months and should make sure to offer customers things like free shipping on their shopping cart orders to increase sales.

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