Consumer Behavior and Expectations: The 2017 Holiday Shopping Report

Consumer Behavior and Expectations: The 2017 Holiday Shopping Report

Announcing Trustpilot’s first research report, the Consumer Behavior and Expectations: The 2017 Holiday Shopping Report. This report analyzes over 1 million global reviews and 13,000 consumer responses to help retailers understand and exceed consumer expectations this upcoming holiday season (November and December). By looking at past consumer activity from the 2015 and 2016 holiday season, we’re able to explore how consumers feel during this active shopping season and help retailers react and adapt to this behavior.

But why are the holidays so important?

The holiday season represents a massive opportunity for retailers, especially online retailers. Last year’s Adobe Digital Index Report showed that $91.7B was spent online in the US, an 11% growth from the year before. In Canada, the UK, and France, this rate of growth was 14%, 11%, and 14%, respectively, showing that this boost in sales isn’t limited to the US or to North America.  

However, it’s not all good news for every retailer. Not every retailer can expect to increase their revenue so significantly at the end of the season. Major retailers usually see above average growth but last year, over 60% of retailers actually experienced a decline in revenue growth on the two biggest sales days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The 2017 Holiday Shopping Report will help retailers capitalize on key expectations and behaviors by identifying specific trends, behaviors, biases, and preferences. If retailers don’t prepare and have a plan for the holiday season, they’ll end up falling short of their competitors.  Here are some of our major findings. To learn more and delve into exact numbers, check out the report here!

Check out the report!

Check out the report!

Review activity increases globally throughout the holiday shopping season

An analysis of millions of reviews in 2015 and 2016 showed that many more reviews were left during the months of November and December, suggesting how reviews are part of the post-purchase customer journey throughout the holiday season. However, there was a surge in review searches during the same time. Users on Trustpilot looked for reviews the most in November 2015 and November 2016, showing how reviews played a large role of the pre-purchase journey as well.

Consumers are more critical during the holiday shopping period

A look at the rate of 1-star reviews shows that negative reviews rise from November through January, reaching a peak appearance rate of 12% when the average is 10%. Whether this increase in negative reviews is due to a higher expectation on the consumer side or because retailers aren’t matching an increase in demand is unclear. Whatever the reason, retailers should focus on their reputation year-round and ensure their departments have the resources they need in order to avoid negative reviews.

Negative and Positive reviews focus on the same topics - Customer Service and Delivery

We measured how often one and two-word phrases appeared in 1- and 5-star reviews across the months of Oct-Dec 2016 and Jan-March 2017, to see if there were differences during between the holiday shopping period and the period afterwards. Overwhelmingly, ‘customer service’ and variations on ‘delivery’ (whether ‘quick delivery’, ‘fast delivery’ or other variations)  made up the most common phrases and words in both negative and positive reviews, highlighting the importance of those throughout the holiday shopping season.

Consumers value price prior to purchase, but heavily consider reviews throughout the customer journey.

A poll gathering over 13,000 responses showed that consumers valued pricing the most, followed by customer service, and shipping/delivery. However, when asked what tools consumers would use during this upcoming holiday season, the top choice was review sites like Trustpilot and Yelp, followed by price comparison tools and sites. These top choices beat out recommendations from friends or family, social media, and reviews on business’s sites.

To see the full report with additional stats, metrics, and takeaways, just click the image below or click here!