Paper Catalogs Influenced Holiday Shopping Behavior More than Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook
Posted: 1/18/2013  |  By: Press Release | Baynote

San Jose, Calif. — Baynote, a leading provider of personalized customer experience solutions, revealed the results from its 3rd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey. The study, conducted in partnership with the e-tailing group, surveyed 1,000 U.S. online holiday shoppers between Nov. 24 and Dec. 5 in order to gain insight into consumer behavior and key buying influencers across various retail channels, including physical stores, eCommerce websites, social networks, tablets and mobile devices.

“Our 3rd Annual Survey provides retailers with actionable insights to help focus marketing efforts on the strategies and devices that will produce the greatest return,” said Dan Darnell, VP of Marketing, Baynote. “This year’s survey demonstrates the difficulty of selecting one marketing channel over another as the connected consumer becomes the status quo and as mobile and social shopping behaviors mature.”

Paper catalogs influenced both in-store and online purchases more than social

While 2012 saw the continued rise of social media platforms, their influence on holiday shoppers paled in comparison to the time-tested paper catalog. According to the survey, paper catalogs influenced twice as many consumers as both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases. Paper catalogs influenced 81.9 percent more in-store purchases and 42.9 percent more online purchases than Facebook. Social platforms were most influential to consumers between the ages of 25 and 34, while paper catalogs were most influential among consumers 45 years and older.

“While it is important to embrace new forms of marketing, successful organizations recognize that all direct to consumer efforts are part of an omni-channel strategy to reach different consumer segments,” said Darnell. “Younger consumers may be more influenced by social and online purchases while older consumers will continue to use paper catalogs and buy in-store. As the lines between these start to blur, making sure that all forms of marketing reinforce each other is key to creating a seamless experience across touch points.”

Tablets continued to overshadow smartphones across-the-board from browsing for gifts to completing transactions
Consumer preference for tablets was most pronounced when browsing websites in search of products to purchase; while 40 percent of tablet owners (or 21.9 percent of all respondents) used their device for browsing, only 28.4 percent used their smartphone. Baynote also found that consumers are starting to rely more heavily on tablets to perform tasks typically associated with smartphones such as conducting product research in stores and searching for coupons.

According to Darnell, “As smaller, lighter tablets become more widely adopted by consumers, they will increasingly make their way into the omni-channel shopping experience. Given this year’s trends, tablets may be the dominant mobile shopping tool for consumers from their couch or in the store for the foreseeable future.”

Despite significant investments in developing mobile retail apps, they have yet to reach their full potential
Twenty three percent of respondents made at least one purchase using a mobile app on either their smartphone or tablet. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 were most likely to make a purchase using a mobile app, with an average of 32 percent doing so. Conversely, consumers 45 and older were least likely, with an average of 14.1 percent using an app to make a purchase.

Digital marketing influenced in-store purchases almost as much as online
According to the study, online marketing channels and mobile devices significantly influenced in-store purchase behavior this holiday season. While online marketing had a greater influence on online purchases than in-store purchases in most instances, that difference was minor. For example, online ratings and reviews influenced 24.1 percent of in-store purchases while influencing 32.9 percent of online purchases. Of note, Twitter proved more influential for in-store purchases while Facebook and Pinterest were more influential for online purchases.

“It’s not really surprising that online marketing should influence what consumers do in the store. Consumers are increasingly multi-device and multi-channel as they browse and buy,” said Darnell. “Retailers must continue to work on their omni-channel strategy to make sure that they provide a consistent experience to consumers across devices and touch points that creates harmony instead of confusion.”

Consumer concerns over privacy did not significantly alter buying behavior
Survey respondents expressed concern over privacy, but that concern did not trump the convenience of online and mobile shopping tools. The survey found 64.5 percent of respondents were concerned with privacy when using a smartphone, 55.3 percent with personal computers and 42.1 percent with tablets. However, only 15.3 percent of respondents abandoned their smartphones due to privacy concerns, 12.3 percent abandoned their personal computer and 10.7 percent abandoned their tablet.