If you are among the many people driven to fits when you hear "Jingle Bell Rock" drifting across the mall’s sound system before Thanksgiving, please put down whatever you are currently holding lest you throw it against the wall. According to Google’s Holiday Shopper Intentions research, 26 percent of shoppers will have already started their holiday shopping by Halloween this year.
Why start so early? It's partly because shoppers are increasingly hungry for product information before making a purchase. According to a Google study from 2013, shoppers consulted five sources before buying in 2010. Three years later, the average number of resources used more than doubled to 12. That kind of hunting and gathering takes time, you know?
The ways in which people blend their online and offline research are changing, too. While shoppers’ habit of “showrooming” products had retailers freaked out for a while, consumers’ preference has been turning toward “webrooming” recently — that is, doing research online and going to the store to complete the purchase.
But it turns out that the showrooming that is going on isn’t as detrimental to retailers as they might have expected: According to Julie Krueger, Google’s industry director for retail, 46 percent of showroomers -- those who pulled out their phones to see if they could buy a product elsewhere online -- still wound up making a purchase at that store in 2013. That’s an 11 percent increase from 2011.
The thing is, people really like whipping out their phones to supplement what they’re seeing on a store’s floor. A Google Mobile study from May 2013 found that one in three shoppers would rather look up product information on their phones while in a store than ask a sales assistant for help. And according to Google's Consumer Study published in September, one in four respondents had looked up a YouTube video related to a product while in the store.
That's dedication. But it's not altogether surprising.