Consumers are on the ball this year: they’re comparison shopping online, looking to loyalty programs and not planning to finance holiday spending this year.
That’s what TD Bank’s holiday retail report finds, as well as other shopping strategies consumers are pursuing to save themselves money or rack up rewards. While 66% don’t plan to finance any purchases, those who do will do so with a bank-offered credit card (71%), a store credit card (57%) or a store-backed payment plan (39%).
The average consumer will spend $530 on holiday shopping this year, according to the bank.
And while credit cards can provide users with rewards for all that shopping, 36% of Americans plan to use debit cards instead — although 61% of respondents said they’d rely on financing to do their shopping if it resulted in significant savings.
What’s hot on their lists? Gift cards (28%), technology/gadgets (25%) and clothes (19%), and the likelihood is that they’ll be brands the shoppers already know and love — with 85% saying that they’re somewhat or completely loyal to the brands they buy all year when it comes to holiday shopping. Millennials are more loyal than Gen Xers, with 45% sticking to the old familiars, compared with 21%.
The two big motivators in determining where to shop are variety of products (46%) and discounts offered (41%); for that latter category, shoppers say they’re most intrigued by customized coupons (37%), discounts via geotargeting (35%) and enhanced shopping atmospheres (22%).
Considering that 96% of Americans who financed holiday shopping in the past paid it off within a year, including 33% who did so immediately and 24% who paid it off within the first month after making a purchase, it’s not surprising that merchants will be looking for ways to reward them for loyalty in ways that tempt them back to credit.
“Rewards programs help increase customer engagement — who doesn’t like receiving bonus incentives or perks for being a loyal customer?” Matt Boss, head of credit cards and unsecured lending at TD Bank, says in the report.
Boss adds, “Further to that, our data shows that holiday shoppers have financed responsibly in the past, which has led retailers to offer increasingly innovative financing options that provide consumers with an enticing combination of savings and rewards on their holiday purchases. It’s a win-win from the customer point of view. Rewards programs enhance a customer’s overall experience and increase their likelihood to shop at a retailer again and again, long after the holiday shopping season has ended.”