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The Fluent 2014 Post-Holiday Survey

Mobile beats tablet and desktop as the most popular online shopping device

We did it. We survived the 2014 holidays. The decorations are safe in storage, the leftovers are all eaten, the gifts are put away, and the diet starts tomorrow.

Just before Thanksgiving, Fluent kicked off the season with a holiday shopping survey, asking respondents to share how they planned to spend money on gifts and travel, research their purchases, what they planned to buy and what they hoped to get in return, and when they would begin shopping.

Fluent’s newly released post-holiday survey of 2,437 American adults uncovers how consumers said they actually spent their time and money – and if pre-holiday expectations met post-holiday reality.

By far, our new study’s most interesting finding has been that more consumers used mobile phones as their primary devices for shopping online than desktops and tablets.  While brick and mortar outlets continued to reign as the primary destination for holiday purchases in 2014 (64.5%), when it came to e-commerce, 69.4% of digital shoppers primarily used their mobile devices – smartphones (41.6%) and tablets (27.7%) – with the remaining 30.6% using desktops.

Here are some other key findings:

  • While consumers planned to spend less money this holiday season, they actually spent more: 28% of pre-holiday survey respondents said they planned to spend less money on gifts in 2014 than they did in 2013, but when all was said and done, 36% said they actually spent more this year than last. Along those same lines, only 32% of surveyed respondents spent less this year on presents, even though 42% said they’d be spending less as we headed into the season.
  • Electronics were the most popular gifts to give and receive: Our November survey showed that 17.4% of people planned to give electronics as gifts this year. As it turns out, even more were purchased with 20.9% of survey respondents stating that they gave electronics to friends and family. Electronics also lead the pack as the gift that participants most wanted to receive, with 17.8% of our pre-holiday survey respondents hoping to unwrap a new mobile phone, tablet, gaming system or other electronics; 16.5% of respondents were gifted with a shiny new device.
  • Online reviews were the most popular form of research: While almost half of survey participants claim to have done no gift research at all, 11.6% turned to online reviews for guidance before buying. In-store comparisons (9.6%) and online advertisements (8.1%) were the second and third research methods of choice and, notably, nearly 5% of respondents cited email newsletters as the deciding factor in their holiday purchases.
  • Most of us don’t shop until December: While the pressure-inducing holiday commercials start as early as late October, one-third of our survey respondents didn’t start shopping for gifts until December. 23.7% kicked off their shopping on Black Friday and, shockingly enough, 11.6% waited until the very last minute – Christmas Eve! Only 31.6% shopped for the holidays in October and November compared to the 43% who thought they would when we fielded our pre-holiday survey.

Click here to access our post-holiday survey infographic.

Survey Methodology

The Fluent 2014 Post-Holiday Survey was conducted online within the United States by Fluent, Inc. from December 26-28, 2014 among 2,437 adults aged 18-65. Fluent’s proprietary ad-serving technology includes a real-time survey module that was used to facilitate the data collection for this study.

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