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Majority of UK holiday shopping ‘will occur digitally and not in-store’

Nearly 85 percent of consumers plan to spend the same or more on gifts as they did last year, with millennials almost 2X more likely to increase spend, according to new research.


Ad tech firm OpenX released the findings of a UK survey conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll looking at consumer shopping ahead of the 2018 holiday season. The study found that consumers expect to spend more in digital channels this year than they will in-store, with millennials in particular expecting to spend more than 60 percent of their money online.

Individuals making more than £50k a year are also more likely than average to shop online than in a physical location, and parents are inclined to shop from their mobile devices, expecting to make about one-quarter of their purchases on mobile.

As part of the larger shift towards digital, the report also found that the way in which shoppers consume content and research products will undergo significant change, highlighting the challenges brand marketers face reaching and engaging consumers in today’s highly fragmented media environment.

Specific highlights from the report include:

  1. The average UK consumer is on their smartphone for at least three hours a day, and close to one in four millennials spend more than 6 hours on their devices

  2. Nearly 20 percent of consumers watch no live TV

  3. Close to 90 percent of UK consumers make an attempt to skip some or all ads they see on traditional TV.

As content consumption habits change, consumers are planning on spending more than ever, and close to 85 percent plan to spend the same or more than they did last year, highlighting the importance of building omnichannel engagement programs that meet consumers where they are watching content, and where they are choosing to make their holiday purchases.

“Consumers are confident and plan to spend this holiday season, and the big changes involve how shoppers are actually consuming content today and how they plan to spend their money,” said Dallas Lawrence, Chief Brand Officer at OpenX. “The shift away from traditional television to mobile is fuelling a strong surge in mobile holiday shopping this year, and whether it’s the 1 out of 3 consumers who now make mobile purchases weekly from bed at night or the 6 percent who are now using smart speakers to help research holiday purchases, consumers are shopping in new and unique ways. Brand advertisers that have developed smart omni-channel strategies to reach the always on shopper will have the happiest holiday returns.”

The survey also highlighted changing consumer perceptions around key shopping events like Black Friday. Less than 60 percent of UK consumers are planning to shop on Black Friday in 2018, and the majority of consumers no longer feel like it is the best day to get shopping deals.

This survey was conducted online within the UK by The Harris Poll on behalf of OpenX from August 30th to September 6th, 2018 among 1,000 adult holiday shoppers.

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