With the holiday season close at hand, the results of a new survey show that 35 percent of consumers plan to shop at local, small businesses this year, compared to 27 percent in 2012. Ninety-five percent of the survey respondents said it is important to support small businesses. When asked why they planned to shop at local merchants, the top responses were: “important to support local businesses” (57 percent), “unique merchandise” (49 percent), “personalized service” (39 percent) and “good prices” (25 percent). The Deluxe Annual Holiday Shopping Survey™ asked more than 1,000 consumers nationwide about their holiday shopping plans, priorities and opinions. The survey was commissioned by the Deluxe Corporation (NYSE:DLX), a leading provider of marketing services and business products for small businesses. “Small businesses should be very encouraged by the results of Deluxe Annual Holiday Shopping Survey,” said Tim Carroll, vice president of small business engagement at Deluxe. “Since shoppers increasingly use technology to plan and fulfill their holiday shopping needs, small businesses must leverage that same technology to remain top-of-mind and drive sales.” Additional survey findings include:
- Getting noticed online is critical. Seventy-eight percent of consumers surveyed will shop for holiday gifts online in 2013, and approximately one in four (28 percent) prefer a small business or boutique website. Search engines remain an important way for consumers to find gift ideas online, particularly among 18 to 34 year-olds (54 percent) and Hispanics (57 percent).
- Consumers appreciate being appreciated. When it comes to holiday “customer appreciation gifts” from small businesses, consumers most prefer (47 percent) a discount on a future product or service. Eighteen percent appreciate a holiday card and 13 percent said “a unique gift item” is their preference, if they had a choice.
- Holiday shoppers plan to get started early. While the reputation of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” as cultural phenomena remain secure, the survey found that only 15 percent of consumers actually plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping on these days. Instead, 42 percent plan to buy their holiday gifts earlier in November. However, the group that will do the majority of their holiday shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend is 18-34 year-olds (22 percent), with 35 – 44 year-olds (19 percent) significantly more likely to shop last minute.
- Printed holiday cards are still appreciated. Eighty-six percent stated they would rather receive a traditional holiday card through the mail (as opposed to online), compared to 80 percent in 2012. However, consumers with incomes over $100,000 are nearly twice as happy to receive an online card, compared to the general population (12 percent vs. 7 percent).