Due to retailers’ shift to promoting online offers already during the Thanksgiving week, the holiday season has become increasingly digital. A holiday shopper survey found that an equal share of holiday shoppers planned on started holiday shopping before December. Social media marketing and e-mail advertising is a big deal for retailers as social is an increasingly important channel for consumers to get gift ideas, read reviews, to browse products and to coordinate gifts with friends and families. According to U.S. online users, Amazon was the most popular website for online gift shopping, followed by Walmart. Amazon has also overtaken in-store as the starting point for gift research, and other digital channels such as Google search or brand websites have significantly gained relevance during the gift shopping process.
Holiday shoppers have also increased their smartphone use – in 2018, smartphones accounted for 30 percent of holiday season e-commerce revenue in the United States and mobile devices are important tools for shoppers. Holiday shopper conversion rate was still higher with desktop devices but smartphones and tablets are catching up in terms of shopper usage.