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Holiday shopping buzz: Professor shares top 5 trends to watch for in December

11.24.2015 | By:
Sarah Roche faculty 2015

Sarah Roche, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, is an expert in consumer behavior and the psychology of the shopper.

We asked her to share the top 5 trends that consumers, marketers and retailers will see this shopping season.

1. Experiential gifts are trending.

Experiential gifts are those that can be experienced and shared, like a vacation, couples massage or tickets to a concert. Unlike material gifts that don’t encourage social interaction, experiential gifts become a part of who we are and our life story.

Roche says that experiential gifts are growing in popularity because they can be physically shared, shared on social media, continue to be a point of connection that you can talk about and reminisce on, and they just generally create more satisfaction for both the gift-giver and the recipient. They are truly the gift that keeps giving. 

2. Webrooming is preferred method for many. 

Webrooming, which refers to browsing online and then making purchases in-store, is how more and more shoppers are deciding upon and making their purchases.

“Integration across all platforms will continue to grow, which is another reason why integrated marketing and communication plans are crucial to developing and positioning a brand,” Roche says. Retailers better have a mobile website or app equipped with the information holiday shoppers are looking for, if we they want to come out on top this holiday season. 

3. Personalization will put a stop to re-gifting.

Remember the sweater you gave your mom two Christmases ago, that ended up back under the tree as a gift from your mom to your sister?

Individualized, personalized gifts are more popular than ever. Which means, less re-givable gifts.

“We have so much clutter, so many ‘things’ in our lives, that crafty, individualized gifts mean more to the giver and recipient,” Roche said. The growth of sites like Pintrest and Etsy really echo this trend.

4. Smartphones are top shopping resource.

According to Deliotte’s 2015 holiday survey, 78% of surveyed consumers intend to use their smart phone in some form or fashion to aid in their holiday shopping. Shoppers are going to be using their smartphones for information every step of the way – for locations, directions, reviews, price-checking and webrooming. What does this mean for retailers? Set up charging stations in your stores. 

5. Shoppers use social media for gifting ideas.

According to Deliotte’s 2015 holiday survey, 50% of shoppers intend to use social media for gift ideas and as a resource for shopping. Social media is also being used to find discounts, coupons, sale information and read reviews. Need we say more? 

Sources: Deliotte University Press, Time, Marketing News Weekly, and Marketing News