The survey of 4,000 consumers (2,000 in the United Kingdom and 2,000 in the United States) identified shopping habits and preferences in the Golden Quarter, the peak retail sales period that runs from October through December.
Key takeaways from Aptos’ 2019 Golden Quarter Consumer Survey include:
- Stores remain the preferred shopping channel for the majority of U.K. and U.S. consumers. Shoppers tell us they prefer to touch, feel and try on goods before they buy (U.K.: 72%; U.S.: 70%). They also cite the benefit of receiving goods instantly (59% in both the U.K. and U.S.) and the opportunity to discover new items (U.K.: 41%; U.S.: 43%).
- A key driver of in-store traffic is buy online, pick up in store/click-and-collect. Forty-three percent of U.K. consumers and 53% of U.S. consumers plan to use this fulfillment option during the festive season.
- Retailers that are slow to market with new, on-trend merchandise risk losing up to 83% of shoppers (U.K.: 82%; U.S.: 83%). Shoppers also have a low tolerance for out-of-stocks. Approximately 50% of shoppers (U.K.: 52%; U.S.: 47%) will start looking elsewhere if their favorite retailer runs out of stock during the Golden Quarter.
The survey also assessed respondents’ feedback on topics such as the role of sales assistants, what encourages shoppers to visit stores, the influence of price on purchase decisions and the importance of store presentation. Survey highlights include:
- Sales assistants: In another indication of the escalating importance of the store, shopper loyalty is at significant risk when sales assistants fail to engage or they underwhelm. Approximately half of the consumers we surveyed indicated that they would visit another retailer if they felt a sales assistant was unhelpful or unavailable (U.K.: 52%; U.S.: 49%).
- In-store appeal: In-store offers topped the list of what encourages shoppers to visit stores. Eighty-four percent of U.K. consumers and 80% of U.S. consumers indicated they were likely to visit a store based on exclusive promotions.
- Price sensitivity: It’s no surprise that price is still a deciding factor for many consumers. Approximately two-thirds of shoppers (U.K.: 66%; U.S.: 60%) would abandon their purchase if they could find an item cheaper elsewhere.
- Store presentation: Messy or overcrowded shops are a detriment to customer satisfaction. More than four in 10 shoppers will leave a messy store, a figure that increases with the age of the customer. A similar number of shoppers (U.K.: 41%; U.S.: 36%) would head elsewhere if they find a store is too crowded.
Noel Goggin, chief executive officer and culture leader of Aptos, said, “The Golden Quarter presents a surge in footfall and sales, with unlimited opportunity to win customer loyalty and build meaningful connections that will benefit retailers in the years ahead. However, this season can also be unforgiving and simple missteps can cause shoppers to stray to a competitor.
“In the current retail market, there’s an abundance of brands and shopping channels for consumers to choose from. Shoppers have so many options, and as such they can be very unpredictable in their choices.
“As Aptos’ 2019 Golden Quarter Consumer Survey highlights, retailers cannot afford to ignore the basics. Survey respondents reinforced the enduring importance of store experiences, customer engagement, merchandise management and omnichannel excellence in the Golden Quarter — and throughout 2020.”
Click here to download Aptos’ 2019 Golden Quarter Consumer Survey, “Building Retail Loyalty and Connections in the Golden Quarter.”