As Online Holiday Sales Rise, Does Self-Gifting Rise Too?

shopping-online-retailers-christmasthumbPort Washington, NY—All indications are that online sales outperformed in-store sales during the Holiday 2013 season.

In a recent study by The NPD Group, Inc. powered by Civic Science, 1,100 consumers were asked where they found better deals this holiday season, online or in-store.

Online came in on top with 31% of respondents stating online offered better deals, compared to the 18% of respondents that stated stores had better deals (26% of respondents stated both had the same deals). In other words, 57% of shoppers found deals online to be more attractive or certainly as good as what they could find in traditional brick and mortar stores, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD.

Online Limits Impulse Purchases?

The results leave many retailers in an interesting quandary, Cohen notes.

“This creates a dual threat to in-store shopping: one is related to the earlier blog post about being careful what you wish for, because you might just get it, with shoppers shopping online instead of in stores, and the other threat is the loss of what generates most of the holiday growth–impulse purchases and self-gifting,” Cohen says.

Holiday promotions not only entice consumers to fulfill their Christmas shopping lists, but usually entice them to self-gift as well.

“However, because this impulse comes from shopping in stores much more than online, when retailers drive traffic online, they are limiting the amount of impulse and self-gifting opportunities. This robs the opportunity for stores to get some of that ever-so-important growth,” Cohen says, who adds that self-gifting could account for 25% of holiday sales, reaching all-time highs since NPD has been tracking it over the past decade.


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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology.