Holiday 2018: Digital Commerce Trends to Watch for This Season

November 20, 2018
Industry News
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marketing@comscore.com

Thanksgiving is almost here and beyond ample amounts of turkey and gravy and a time to give thanks, it means one thing to consumers: shopping deals. As we approach this year’s holiday retail season, what are some of the biggest online shopping trends we can expect to see?

New and Emerging Tech: What Will be This Year’s Smart Speaker?

Last holiday season saw the emergence of the smart speaker as a force in the connected home arena, and it instantly captured the attention of many consumers. While only 11% of households had a smart speaker in October 2017, this exploded to nearly 20% by February 2018, fueled largely by holiday purchases. Is there anything that can match that this year? Perhaps not to that dramatic of a degree, but there are several new tech advancements which could make some noise. One big trend to watch is the number of newer models of smart speakers that add screens. While this is just a step-change on last year’s big trend, Comscore's research on smart speakers has found that many consumers shy away from using smart speakers for purchases due to a lack of visual feedback. Currently, only 31% of smart speaker owners have ever used their device to make a purchase, and just 15% have done so in the past month. But if screens on smart speakers provide an enhanced level of comfort, we could see even more users embracing the technology to make purchases in the years to come. 

Virtual reality devices are another technology where we expect to see some movement this holiday season, albeit one with a more niche audience. Our quarterly State of Retail survey found that consumers have mixed opinions about how valuable VR devices will be in the future. While half felt that VR devices would be very valuable for gaming, a higher proportion saw VR as ‘not’ useful for retail purposes like clothes or furniture shopping. However, generational cohorts greatly impact this metric – while 31% of Millennials felt VR would be valuable for clothes shopping, only 17% of older respondents agreed that VR would be valuable for such use.

Consumers Will Continue to Embrace “Big Ticket” Purchases on Mobile
Purchases of “big ticket” items via mobile (an item of more than $500) hit an inflection point last year, as significantly more consumers were completing transactions for these items on mobile devices. Our data show that this trend has not only continued, it’s accelerated. Two or three years ago, few consumers were comfortable purchasing appliances, couches or other similar items on mobile phones. Now, we see this type of activity far more regularly. Mobile commerce growth has been outpacing desktop growth for years, but often lent itself more to categories that had an easier/shorter purchase cycle or lower dollar amount. Now, our data have shown that big-ticket items are a much more common occurrence on mobile. When you consider all the holiday deals on high-value electronics and other items, we expect big ticket transactions on mobile to ramp up even more. 
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comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms. With a data footprint that combines digital, linear TV, over-the-top and theatrical viewership intelligence with advanced audience insights, comScore allows media buyers and sellers to quantify their multiscreen behavior and make business decisions with confidence. A proven leader in measuring digital and set-top box audiences and advertising at scale, comScore is the industry’s emerging, third-party source for reliable and comprehensive cross-platform measurement. To learn more about comScore, please visit comScore.com.