Shopping Trends

The holidays may have passed, but they are far from forgotten, as industry leaders and market researchers in the retail sector analyze holiday sales and all related data, for a glimpse of 2012’s possible shopping trends. A recent study by The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, found two important trends going into the new year: women’s shopping habits and smartphone shopping capabilities.

Women and Mobile Continue to Lead Trends

The study affirms that women openly admitted to spending less on gifts this past holiday season, as well as cut back on the number of gifts bought. NPD also reports, “When asked if they bought items on sale, shopped in less expensive stores and bought more practical or thrifty gifts, again a higher percentage of women answered ‘Yes.’” This doesn’t mean women sold themselves short in the shopping experience. Fifty percent of women told NPD they bought something for themselves during the course of their holiday shopping. Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group, Inc., confirms, “Women were the ones that told us they cut back on their spending, cut back on the number of people on their lists and in general were more thrifty in their gift shopping. So, they felt more comfortable rewarding themselves for being so frugal, and there were a lot of deals that were hard to pass up.”

Another noteworthy trend was the popularity of smartphones and mobile marketing, as both men and women consumers used their phones as a channel for research and purchasing this holiday season. Women were only slightly more inclined to research a product (13 percent versus 12), as well as follow through with a purchase (five percent versus four). Men, however, were more willing to use the phone as a resource while shopping in-store, reading product reviews along the way (seven percent versus five percent). They were also more likely to discuss their shopping experience via social networks with other holiday shoppers (four percent versus three). “I think it is becoming clear that there is a growing market for this kind of consumer engagement,” said Cohen, “While the four percent of consumers that told us they used smartphones to make a purchase doesn’t sound like a lot, remember it was less than a decade ago that only three percent of consumers told us they shopped online,” noted Cohen.