Convenience over price is the key reason for online shopping, with more than 60 per cent of consumers expected to do shop online this holiday season, up 10 percentage points from the 50 per cent in 2013. Nearly 50 per cent of consumers will do both their research and buy online, according to research by Wipro Digital, the digital transformation business of Wipro Ltd.
The company surveyed 2,000 consumers across the US and the UK.
''The large number of consumers choosing convenience over price as their top reason for shopping online is a reminder that brands need to compete on experience not just price,'' said Avinash Rao, Global Head, Wipro Digital.
''This Holiday Season, it looks as if physical stores have not yet done enough to draw consumers into their stores. Improving the in-store experience, for example by offering virtual wardrobes side-by-side with displays, could give consumers a reason to reverse the trend of shopping more online. Either way, businesses which can deliver experiences based on deep insight into customer journeys will stand out,'' Rao added.
Neither ''Showrooming'' nor ''webrooming'' are expected to be common this season with less than 5 per cent of consumers reporting that they will research in-store and buy online or research online and buy in store. However, consumers haven't abandoned physical stores entirely: over 80 per cent want to be able to match an in-store promotion when shopping online, but six in 10 consumers expect difficulty in doing that.
According to consumers, there are not enough reasons or incentives to shop in-store. Less than 10 per cent think prices are more competitive in-store or that the sales staff is knowledgeable and only slightly more believe physical stores provide a more personalized experience. Parking is another disincentive with nearly half expecting to have trouble finding parking space.
However, shipping charges have the potential to drive more people back to the store, particularly in the US where this is seen as a larger concern with online shopping. Shipping costs are particularly a barrier for consumer goods companies selling direct to consumers who don't want to pay for shipping.
''While we see an increase in online shopping at this time of year, people are still looking for the best ways to combine online and offline experiences,'' Rao added. ''Brands that can peel apart all the interactions that form a customer journey and offer what customers want are the ones who will succeed not only this holiday but going forward.''
Convenience continues to play a part of the Holiday travel experience. While a majority (56 per cent) expects inevitable weather delays while travelling, a large majority of consumers prefer to communicate with their travel provider via text or email, including rebooking. Only one fourth of travellers are happy to call a toll-free number to rebook. Perhaps that's due to an expected wait time of nearly 20 minutes, as seen through the survey.
The research also found that mobile payments are not expected to be a common payment method this Season with less than 5 per cent using them – which is the same proportion of people using checks.
Looking ahead, consumers are expecting to wait an average of 20 minutes in line when returning a product at a store. If given the option to return a gift online, nearly 80 per cent favor this if they can get an immediate credit. But if they have to wait to receive their credit, this drops by in half.