Consumers bought plenty online over the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, but they still have plenty more holiday shopping to do, suggests a survey conducted this week.
Two-thirds of online consumers say they have half or more of their shopping left to do, according to the survey by customer service technology provider LivePerson Inc. and market research firm Survata for Internet Retailer.
In fact, 16% say they haven’t started shopping and a quarter say they still have about three-fourths of their holiday shopping yet to do.
Consumers are more comfortable putting off holiday shopping into December because online shopping has made gift-buying easier, says Rurik Bradbury, head of research at LivePerson. “Years ago people would get worried if it got to December and they didn’t have their shopping done, because it meant traipsing around to shops,” Bradbury says. “Now people just click on a few things and it’s done.”
About 5% of consumers surveyed say they spent their entire holiday budget online over the Thanksgiving period, but 15% spent none of it at retail websites. 39.2% say they spent about a quarter of the money they’ve set aside for holiday gifts over the Thanksgiving period.
Not surprisingly, Amazon, No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s ranking of the Top 1000 online retailers in North America, was the most-shopped retail website, followed by Walmart.com (No. 3 in the Top 1000), Target.com (No. 20) and BestBuy.com (No. 10).
Of those who shopped online, 51.2% of consumers said they browsed or purchased clothing, shoes or fashion accessories. The next most popular category was small electronics (items under $100) at 34.7%, followed by toys at 33.9%, home goods at 30.1% and large electronics at 19.7%.
Nearly 24% of consumers said they did all of their shopping on a smartphone or tablet and another 10% said about 75%. However, relatively few—only 10%—said they had used or planned to use a chatbot, like Apple Inc.’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to help with their shopping.
That’s likely to change because shopping by voice, what Bradbury calls “conversational commerce,” is so easy and intuitive, he says. And with Amazon Echo and Dot devices already in millions of homes and consumers getting used to asking Alexa to play music, check the weather and perform other tasks, Amazon is building an early lead. “If Amazon has this permanent installation in people’s homes, that’s quite a moat for other retailers to get around,” he says.
While only a small percentage used a chatbot to shop over the holiday weekend, some consumers are convinced that these software-driven assistants know them well. Asked who would pick a better gift for them, their mother or “a bot assistant that knows your online preferences,” 28% chose the bot.
In a separate survey, 34% of online consumers said they think virtual assistants would be more proficient than humans in choosing the perfect holiday gift. However, more think of bots as good for other tasks, such as the 48% that touted bots’ ability to create “an amazing holiday playlist.”
Nonetheless, consumers have concerns about shopping via mobile phones or virtual assistants, with 58% concerned about having credit card information stolen, 49% about getting scammed by a fake website and 47% worried that their personal information will be stolen. The survey of 1,000 online consumers was conducted for Avanade, a digital technology advisory and implementation firm.
While millions of consumers have purchased voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Echo and the Google Home, few retailers pushed deals through them this holiday weekend, according to a study by Ugam, an e-commerce analytics firm.
According to the analysis, Amazon itself only offered one Cyber Monday deal via Alexa. However, Best Buy, which has developed a “skill” or app for Alexa, was more aggressive, offering 15 deals at a lower price via Alexa than it did on BestBuy.com. For example, Best Buy offered a Chefman “hot air” food fryer for $79.99 in an Alexa deal, while the price on BestBuy.com was $159.99, according to Ugam.