With only four weeks separating Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, Cyber Monday One (December 1st) and Cyber Monday Two (December 8th) may command a greater share of online sales than they have in years past–thus increasing the importance of search marketing for retailers, according to Performics, writes Retailer Daily.
The firm analyzed its annual Cyber Mondays data, which have shown a weekly online sales spike on Mondays throughout the holiday season for more than five years (see image).
Because retailers will likely see a higher share of online sales earlier this season, it's more important than ever for marketers to engage their core target markets with search to take advantage of those online sales, Performics said.
In collaboration with ROI Research, Performics surveyed 7,043 consumers on the role of search engines in their purchasing behaviors–specific to search engine use–across seven consumer segments and ten product categories.
The findings illustrate key differences in how search is used in the purchase process:
- 81% of silver surfers (65 years and older) spend at least an hour/day on the internet, utilizing search to find best prices and product information, but typically buying offline.
- 89% of African-Americans spend at least an hour/day on the internet, most often using search to find offline locations, especially for automotive and electronic purchases.
- Baby Boomers used search more than 75% of the time when purchasing automobiles, appliances, and electronics.
- Gays/lesbians, who reported more overall shopping than other demographic segments in nearly every product category, used search most often to shop for automotive, appliance, and electronic products and services.
"Consumers turn to search for different reasons," said Michael Kahn, VP, account management and marketing for Performics.
"Online strategies from one marketer to the next can look like night and day depending on the verticals and target segments each needs to navigate. In some cases, consumers use search to buy; in others, it's a research tool, often used to find offline retail locations."
This online-vs.-offline dynamic emerged as a key theme in the study. Among the findings:
- Travel reigned as the top online product category, with 70% of respondents reporting making their last travel purchase online.
- Healthcare was the most dominant offline category, with 81% of consumers indicating that their last purchase happened offline; yet 90% of respondents used search to research these purchases.
- Use of search was split almost evenly across the seven studied segments (see below) for telecommunication purchases, and 39% made their purchases online.
- Tweens were most likely to purchase apparel and electronics, but despite the notion that Tweens often "live" online, most make and recommend purchases offline.
About the data: Performics and ROI Research surveyed 7,043 consumers, seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the influence of search on consumer purchasing behavior, including how frequently consumers use search to gather product information, compare prices, and look for specific brands or retailers. The study also tracked key demographics such as income, education and media-consumption patterns.
The study reported the findings within seven demographic segments: African Americans; Baby Boomers; 18-42 year olds; Seniors; Gays/Lesbians; Hispanics-Latinos; Tweens. Each consumer was questioned about using search across nine vertical product categories: Apparel; Appliances; Auto; Consumer Package Goods; Electronics; Healthcare; Home Furnishings; Telecommunications; Travel; Financial products and services.