3 Important Findings to Know for 2017 Holiday Shopping Season

Nov 10, 2017
Written by Sandrine Thompson

This holiday season, shoppers will do even more of their gift shopping online—ecommerce sales are projected to increase 16% over last year and account for 11.5% of total holiday sales. (eMarketer).

What factors are most likely to make shoppers purchase… and what are they most interested in buying?

Epsilon’s Holiday Path to Purchase report, based upon a Shopper’s Voice survey of 2,500+ respondents, provides insight into what holiday shoppers will be looking for while shopping in the weeks ahead. We pulled out three of the report’s most relevant findings for affiliate marketers.


#1.  Shoppers are more promotion-driven than ever, but less interested in comparing price.

A whopping 89% of shoppers say promotions and offers will impact their holiday purchase decisions.

Shoppers will leverage all their resources (email, online, loyalty programs and print) to source promotions for the brands or products they want to buy. Forty-four percent will search for a store coupon or offer code before making a purchase and 38% will only purchase if free shipping is offered. Free shipping is the offer that closes the deal for 57% of shoppers and is the top influencer on holiday gift shopping decisions.

Interestingly, the share of shoppers who said they are likely to price compare products online declined.

Sixty-six percent of shoppers this year were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to price compare, versus 71% last year. This may be because holiday shoppers may be less price-conscious when buying gifts than the past and more driven to complete their holiday shopping lists.

Affiliate Tip:  These two findings reflect that shoppers this year will be inclined to purchase (and purchase quickly) if presented with a compelling combination of a promotion/offer and free shipping. It is also critical that your site and promotions are smartphone-friendly—mobile traffic accounted for more than half of all ecommerce visits during holiday 2016 (Adobe).


#2.   Shoppers will be looking for a discount greater than 15% when deciding on a purchase.

A 16% to 25% discount appears to be the sweet spot for influencing purchase decisions.

In Epsilon’s survey, a greater share of shoppers indicated that a percentage discount in the range of 16 - 25% is the “just right” amount to influence a purchase – and “percentage off” type promotions were slightly more attractive than “dollar off” promotions (47% and 43% preferred each, respectively).

Affiliate Tip: Retailers should test if their customers respond better to percentage off or dollar off type promotions – there may be a generational-preference not captured in this study. But when seeking a relative discount amount that will push shoppers to purchase, offers lower than 15% may be overlooked.


#3. Clothing, gift cards, and toys are at the top of most shopping lists.

More than 50% of shoppers say they anticipate buying these items as gifts this holiday season.

Clothing will be on most shopping lists, with 63% of shoppers anticipating a clothing purchase.

Gift cards are the second most popular item shoppers will be buying; with a greater share of those being for a specific store versus general purpose gift cards.  According to a Deloitte Consulting holiday survey, 25% of shoppers’ holiday spend will go to clothing items, 18% to toys and 16% to electronics.  The same study found that 27% of shoppers “prefer to buy gifts that are an experience” (e.g., concert/show, vacation or restaurant).

Affiliate Tip: CJ’s holiday sales have reflected a similar distribution of gift types for many years, including a noted increase in experiential gifts in the past 3 years. Thus, affiliate marketers now must cater to both traditional goods-driven shoppers and those looking to dedicate some of their holiday spend to subscriptions, food gifts, music events and other experiences.


You can download the full Epsilon Holiday Path to Purchase report, to understand the issues and influences affecting all brands as we head into the holiday season.  You can also refresh your knowledge on affiliate-specific strategies for Holiday 2017, read CJ’s 2017 Holiday Intelligence report.

Topics: Retail, Holiday,
Junction Newsletter

Get industry best practices and thought leadership delivered straight to your inbox.

Advertisers & Agencies
Expand Your Brand’s Reach

Achieve sustained growth and reach your target audience. Work with world-class publishers and influencers to successfully promote brand products and services.

Publishers & Influencers
Partner with the World’s Best Brands

Earn seamlessly by partnering with the world’s most widely recognized brands, promoting products and services your audience enjoy. Engage with brands you know and love all in one place.