Luckily, though, Google does, and they’re kind enough to share some of those insights with the rest of us. They’ve uncovered some interesting tidbits of information relevant to the 2014 holiday retail season, which we’ve summarized below.
Okay, so you’ve probably noticed this general trend on the side of retailers over the past few years: the old school Black Friday started around 5-6am, but then malls started opening at midnight, and then retailers started opening on Thanksgiving day, and soon they’ll be coming to your family gathering to do a pop-up shop event. On a serious note, though, Google found that retailers are “stretching Black Friday promotions across November, changing the focus from just one day to a month-long event,” which is also changing the way consumers are researching holiday purchases. Over 50% of consumers surveyed planned on doing research before Thanksgiving, and over a quarter were planning it before Halloween. Most interestingly, though, is the fact that shoppers doing research have gone from using an average of five sources in 2010 to at least 12 sources in 2013.
Physical store hours once limited window shopping to normal business hours. But today, people can simply pull out their tablet or smartphone while on the bus or train, at work, or at home on their couch or in bed. In fact, Google found that a third of all shopping searches happen between 10pm-4am. And with a plethora of options — retailers’ own websites, along with social sites such as Instagram and YouTube — consumers have more opportunity than ever to “window shop” digitally.
As we mentioned in our recent article on retailing myths, many shoppers use their smartphone while in stores to do product research. And Google found that 75% of shoppers surveyed said they plan on using a smartphone in-store during the holiday season this year. On top of that, one in three shoppers will use their phone as a way to find information instead of asking a store employee.