2021 Consumer Survey Reveals Shoppers Leaning In to BOPIS, DTC and other Online Trends
Since the pandemic started in March 2020, consumers have shifted their purchasing patterns from in-person to online. Even as some areas slowly return to in-store shopping and indoor dining, a recent survey we conducted found that the trend of digital first is here to stay. In addition to addressing health and safety concerns, at-home delivery and curbside pickup are convenient.
In this post, I’ll detail the survey findings of 1,000 U.S. consumers that caught my attention.
What the 2021 Holiday Season Means for Retailers
For retailers, the 2021 holiday season will be complex. According to our survey, two-thirds of consumers (66%) are buying more online than they did prior to the pandemic, while nearly half of consumers (47%) plan to do a combination of in-store and online shopping for the holidays. Over one-third (39%) of survey respondents are skipping brick-and-mortar stores altogether in favor of online shopping.
Traditionally in the U.S., holiday shopping kicks off on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Our survey results show that shoppers plan to get an earlier start this year—36% of survey respondents plan to begin shopping in early November, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Only 11% plan to shop in the days and weeks before the holidays, while 13% now shop for the holidays year-round. The most preferred “shopping holiday” of the year is Black Friday, favored by more than one third (34%) of respondents. The next most popular was Prime Day at 22%.
Over the past 18+ months, the retail industry has demonstrated incredible resiliency, and they’ll need to stay resilient during the upcoming holiday season.
To meet customers across their favorite channels this holiday season, retailers need a data foundation that can easily integrate with online and offline data sources for enriched customer intelligence and a more seamless customer experience.
As more customers embrace a hybrid shopping experience, it becomes increasingly important that retailers harmonize data from every touchpoint, no matter if it’s in-store, through an app, or online. Gaining access to those granular insights in real-time enables brands to truly personalize the entire customer journey.
Privacy Reigns Supreme
Customer privacy—and the proper management of customer data—still reigns supreme. First came data privacy regulations like CASL, GDPR and CCPA. More recently, Google’s plans with third-party cookies and Apple’s plans with Apple Mail made the headlines. Privacy is top-of-mind with consumers.
We asked a survey question, “What do you value more, privacy or personalized marketing?” A whopping 78% chose privacy over personalized marketing (22%).
While the pandemic pioneered personalization efforts forcing retailers to humanize their approach and establish meaningful relationships, consumers’ digital engagement also skyrocketed—making transparency about data practices more important than ever before. As the demand for personalized retail grows, retailers must not forget to prioritize consumer privacy to protect their data and trust.
Where to Communicate with Customers? Everywhere.
Customers use multiple devices (like their phone, tablet, laptop, Smart TV, etc.). A few devices they have with them around the clock. When asked what form of communication customers prefer to receive from retailers about sales, email (73%) and text (45%) were favored the most, followed by social media (33%) and push notifications (24%). I found it interesting that most people (82%) use their primary personal email address when creating accounts with retailers, perhaps so they don’t miss tracking status’ and delivery updates?
Good News for Brick-and-Mortar Stores: Bippity, Boppity, BOPIS
While the pandemic drove a surge in online shopping, there’s still a place for brick-and-mortar stores. More than 80% of consumers have used “buy online, pick-up in store” offerings. An online presence is important, but so is available product inventory in nearby brick-and-mortar stores. Our survey also found that despite the popularity of at-home delivery for groceries, 60% of consumers prefer buying their groceries in-person.
Build that (Retail) Brand
Is your brand top-of-mind with consumers or do you rely on retail stores carrying your products on their shelves? It seems like consumers are increasingly buying directly from brands. Our survey found that 67% of consumers recently purchased a product directly from a brand that they otherwise would have purchased at a retailer. This has interesting implications for both consumer brands and retail chains.
What about Car Purchases?
With seemingly everything being purchased online, what about automobiles? Purchasing a vehicle often requires in-person visits to a car dealer. Our survey found that 30% of consumers recently purchased a vehicle online and three-quarters of consumers (75%) rely on online research before visiting the dealership. I think it will be a while before the majority of car purchases happen online, although the data is certainly trending in that direction. Maybe those self-driving cars can sell themselves.
Wrapping up the Findings
Consumers are shopping online more, and retailers have introduced ways to cope with rising demands for alternatives to in-store shopping. Due to this shift, new hybrid shopping trends started to take front stage—buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, touch-free shopping, research online purchase offline (ROPO), and more. To offer omnichannel experiences, retailers should be more than prepared to meet consumers’ shifting behaviors and needs. But how? The solution for brands is distilling the data from this new shopping world into actionable insights. With the right customer data platform (CDP) in place, retailers can organize their hybrid data so they can effectively communicate with customers across multiple channels.
To see the full results of Treasure Data’s 2021 Consumer Shopping survey, download it here.