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Consumers Spend More When They Shop Both Online and In Stores — But There’s One Catch

Samantha McDonald

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The holiday shopping season is in full swing and research continues to show it will take multiple strategies — across channels — to lure in shoppers.

According to purchasing support platform Cardlytics, which released today its annual study on holiday spending trends — based on findings from the 2018 shopping season — consumers who shop with a retailer both in stores and online spend twice as much during the period compared with those who favor a single channel.

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Still, despite the emphasis on omnichannel retail, the study noted that such shoppers account for only 10.3% of the current retail customer base, presenting a huge opportunity for retailers to capture even more of their holiday dollars.

What’s more, nearly 40% of total holiday spending in 2018 occurred in the four weeks leading up to Black Friday, with consumers shopping more consistently throughout the months of October through December instead of saving the bulk for the week of Thanksgiving or before Christmas. As such, today’s top retailers should understand just how critical the marriage between digital and brick-and-mortar means for business during this time of the year.

Cardlytics found  that while in-store shopping continues to lose market share, brick-and-mortar stores still account for a vast majority of spending during the holidays at 78.6% in 2018 (a 1.6% drop from 2017), versus online-only merchants’ 12.9% (a 1.3% year-over-year gain). Physical-first retailers, reported Cardlytics, are increasingly making up for lost revenues by investing in their own e-commerce platforms, which edged up 8.4% in 2018, compared with 8.2% in 2017.

“As shopping preferences continue to change, it’s important for retailers to understand the trends,” said CMO Dani Cushion. “Marketers typically have a clear view into how their customers are shopping with them, but it’s difficult to see how they are shopping with their competitors. By analyzing actual purchase data, we give retailers a full view of holiday spend, then help them capture incremental sales and drive loyalty.”

Overall, Cardlytics reported that holiday spending advanced 2% from 2017 to 2018. Retailers with convenient options such as free shipping and buy online, pickup in store services were said to have accumulated a larger number of transactions and higher spending in total.

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