A Majority of Americans Are Searching for Coupons, Deals, or Sales Before Making a Purchase During the Christmas Season

Deals on Clothing and Electronics Are Most Sought After When Shopping for Holiday Gift Items

A Majority of Americans Are Searching for Coupons, Deals, or Sales Before Making a Purchase During the Christmas Season

The author(s)

  • Julia Clark Ipsos Public Affairs, US
  • Marie-Pierre Lemay Account Manager
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Chicago, IL, November 21, 2017 — Most Americans say that they are searching online for coupons, deals, coupon codes or sales at least most of the time (51%) before making a purchase when shopping for the Christmas season – including one in five (21%) who say they are doing this every time. Women (56% vs. 47% of men), adults under the age of 35 (65% vs. 36% of those age 55+), the more affluent (55% vs. 47% earning less than $50,000 annually), and those with children living at home (66% vs. 45% with no kids) are among those most likely to report searching online for coupons and deals every time/most of the time before making a purchase. According to the recent online survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Offers.com, another 26% are sometimes looking online for coupons/deals, while fewer (13%) report rarely doing this. Only 6% say that they never search online for coupons, deals, coupon codes or sales before making a purchase, while very few (3%) indicate that they do not celebrate the Christmas holiday.

  • Searching for online coupons before making a purchase is slightly more prevalent this year compared to previous years, with 77% saying that they plan to search for coupons/deals at least sometimes, versus 74% who said the same thing in both 2016 and 2015.

Adults are most likely to be looking for deals on clothing this holiday season (54%), although nearly half say the same thing about electronics such as TVs, tablets, and other gadgets (46%). At least a third say that they are looking for deals on gift cards (39%), toys (37%), and video games and equipment (33%), while other holiday gift items such books and audio (25%), jewelry (24%), and appliances (23%) are mentioned by roughly a quarter. Americans are not as likely to be looking for deals on sporting goods (19%) or experiences (16%) when it comes to gift items, while 14% mention something else. And 7% state that they don’t plan to do any holiday shopping this year.

  • Younger adults – especially those under the age of 35 – are significantly more likely to report looking for deals on most of these holiday gift items. Those over the age of 55, in their turn, tend to be much more likely to say they don’t plan to do any holiday shopping this year (13% vs. 2% of those age 18-34). Parents also mirror this trend, with a greater proportion of those with children living at home saying that they are searching for deals on many of the gift items listed.
  • In 2016, clothing (49%) and electronics (41%) were also the top two items mentioned, although not quite to the same extent as seen this year.

The most popular retailers this holiday season include Amazon (67%) and Wal-Mart (60%), with at least six in ten American saying that they plan to purchase gifts from these sellers. Target (45%) follows, rounding up the top three retailers. At least one in five say that they plan to purchase gifts from Kohl’s (29%), Best Buy (26%), Macy’s (22%), and/or Toys “R” Us (20%), while the proportion of those who say they plan to shop for holiday gifts at JC Penny (17%) or the Home Depot (17%) falls slightly below this threshold. Fewer are planning to purchase gifts from Kmart (14%), Apple (13%), Lowes (13%), Dick’s Sporting Academy (12%), Sears (12%), or Nordstrom (10%), while another one in ten mention some other retailer/brand (9%) or say that they do not plan to shop at any of these (9%).

Shopping Trends – In-Store Versus Online

Three in ten (30%) Americans say that they are making online purchases on a weekly basis, including one in ten (11%) who report making online purchases more than once a week. Another one in three (34%) are making online purchases monthly, while similar proportions do this less frequently (31%, a few times a year). Very few (4%) report never making online purchases, on par with results seen in 2016 (6%) and 2015 (5%).

  • Those who are most likely to be frequent online shoppers (defined here as shopping online at least monthly) comprise men (69%), younger adults (77% of those age 18-34), those earning more than $50,000 annually (73%), those who have children living at home (79%), those with a college degree (78%), and those who are married (69%).
  • Those who frequently seek holiday savings online (78%) and adults who plan to use a mobile device when holiday shopping (75%) are also among the most likely to say that they make online purchases at least monthly.  
  • The proportion of Americans who are making online purchases at least weekly (30%) has increased by nine percentage points compared to 2016 (21%).

Almost three quarters (73%) plan to use their mobile device when shopping this holiday season – up ten percentage points compared to those who said the same thing last year (63%, 2016). Looking for coupons/deals (48%) and making purchases (47%) are the most common reasons cited for using a mobile device this holiday season, while roughly two in five say they plan to use their mobile device to compare products at different stores (45%), check product reviews (42%) and/or get directions to the store (38%). On the other hand, just over a quarter (27%) don’t plan to use their mobile device when holiday shopping this year (down from 37% in 2016).

  • Those most likely to rely on their mobile device when shopping this holiday season include adults under the age of 35 (95% vs. 45% of those age 55+), the more affluent (76% vs. 67% earning less than $50,000), parents with children living at home (93% vs. 64% with no kids), and those with a college degree (77% vs. 69% with no college degree).
  • Similarly, frequent online shoppers (89% vs. 42% of those who never shop online) and those frequently searching for holiday deals online (87% vs. 32% of those who never seek holiday savings) also stand out, being more than twice as likely to use their mobile device when holiday shopping this year compared to their demographic counterparts.

When asked what percentage of their holiday shopping will take place using a mobile device, 16% believe that they will make less than 20% of all their purchases using their phones/tablets, while similar proportions estimate instead that 21-40% (18%) or again 41%-60% (16%) of their total holiday shopping will be completed using a mobile device. Just over one in ten (13%) believe that the majority (over 61%) of their holiday shopping will take place using a mobile device – up from 8% recorded in 2016. However, three in ten (30%) report that none of their holiday shopping will take place via mobile, while 7% are not quite sure.

  • Older individuals (55% of those age 55+), the less affluent (35% of those earning less than $50,000), those with no children living at home (39%), those with no college degree (35%), and those who are not married (35%) are significantly more likely to say that none of their holiday shopping will take place on mobile this year. Those who never shop online (76%) and those who don’t plan to use their mobile device at all for holiday shopping (81%) are even more likely to report that none of their holiday shopping will take place via mobile device.

Holiday shopping is most prevalent on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, with only three in ten Americans saying that they do not plan to do any shopping at all on these holidays (29% and 31%, respectively). Looking at Cyber Monday more specifically, a majority plan to shop online (58%), while at least one in ten say that they also plan to shop in-store (13%) or via their mobile device (17%) on this holiday. When it comes to Black Friday, Americans are just as likely to shop online (44%) as they are in-store (42%), while fewer mention using their mobile device (14%) to shop during this holiday. Shopping via social media is less prevalent, with only 5% saying they plan to do this on Black Friday and fewer (3%) saying the same thing about Cyber Monday.

Fewer Americans indicate they plan to shop on Small Business Saturday, with 57% planning to some shopping versus 43% saying that they will not be shopping on this day. Among those who will be shopping, more are planning to do so in-store (42%) versus online (16%), while less than one in ten plan to use their mobile device (9%) or social media (5%) to shop on Small Business Saturday.

Holidays such as Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Eve are least likely to attract shoppers, with majorities saying that they do not plan to shop at all on these holidays (51% and 60%, respectively). In-store shopping is more prevalent among those who do plan to shop on these holidays, with three in ten planning to shop in-person on Thanksgiving Day (30%) and Christmas Eve (29%). Roughly a quarter plan to shop online on Thanksgiving (24%), while online shopping drops to 17% among those who say the same of shopping on Christmas Eve. In comparison, just under one in ten plan to shop on Thanksgiving day (9%) and Christmas Eve (8%) via their mobile device, while fewer intend to shop using social media (4% and 2%, respectively).

Planning Their Holiday Shopping

Most Americans don’t waste any time it comes to getting their holiday shopping started – including a quarter (27%) who report that they have already started and another 23% who plan to get started early in November. One in ten intend on starting their holiday shopping on Black Friday (13%), with fewer likely to mention Thanksgiving Day (4%) or Cyber Monday (3%). Slightly more than one in ten (14%) prefer to wait until sometime in December to get their holiday shopping underway, though only 1% dare leave their shopping until Christmas Eve. Another one in ten (9%) are not sure of their holiday shopping plans quite yet, while 6% report that they don’t plan to do any holiday shopping this year. These shopping trends remain on par with 2016/2015, varying by only one or two percentage points throughout.

  • Those most likely to have already started their holiday shopping include women (33% vs. 21% of men), those with no college degree (31% vs. 23% with college degree), frequent online shoppers (37% vs. 21% infrequent online shoppers), and those who frequently seek holiday savings online (35% vs. 19% never seek holiday savings online).

When it comes to setting a holiday gift budget, two in five say that they are planning to spend less than $400 (41%), though a quarter (26%) say that they plan to spend between $401-$800. Fewer (15%) are planning to spend between $801-$1,200, while just over one in ten (12%) plan to spend more than this (over $1,200). As was the case throughout the survey, roughly one in twenty (6%) say that they don’t plan to spend any money on gifts this holiday season – especially older adults (10% of those age 55+), those earning less than $50,000 annually (8%), those who do not have children living at home (8%), those with no college degree (8%), those who are not married (8%), the unemployed (8%), those who never shop online (12%), and those who never seek holiday savings online (19%).

  • Compared to last year, the proportion of those planning to spend over $800 on gifts for family and friends increases by 5-percentage points (27% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2016).

About the Study

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted October 18 –19, 2017 on behalf of Offers.com. For the survey, a sample of 1,005 adults over the age of 18 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 3.5 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 3.5 percentage points for all respondents (see link below for more info on Ipsos online polling “Credibility Intervals”). Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5.0).

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Julia Clark
Senior Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 312 526-4919
julia.clark@ipsos.com

Marie-Pierre Lemay
Senior Account Manager, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 613 793-1622
marie.lemay@ipsos.com

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

 

About Ipsos

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The author(s)

  • Julia Clark Ipsos Public Affairs, US
  • Marie-Pierre Lemay Account Manager

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