The time to begin Holiday Planning for retail is upon us and Hitwise has the search numbers to predict 2017’s hot products as well as the lifestyles and mindsets of the consumers purchasing many of those products.
Holiday Web Traffic
In 2016, Americans made 11.7 billion visits to the top 500 retailer websites, an increase of 2% over 2015. (11.5 billion visits) during the months of November and December with around 1.9 billion visits registered during “peak week,” the seven days between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Cyber Tuesday. This year, Hitwise estimates that peak week visits could reach or even surpass 2 billion. Of course, the most traffic was (and still will be) generated on three key days:
- Black Friday (342M visits)
- Thanksgiving Day (336M visits)
- Cyber Monday (320M visits)
Although Thanksgiving Day raked in 16M more visits than Cyber Monday, that does not mean it produced the most sales. Hitwise conversion point data, which tracks how many consumers make purchases on the top retail websites, tells us that Thanksgiving Day saw conversion rates 19% below that observed on Cyber Monday last year; demonstrating that Thanksgiving Day remains primarily a planning day despite the surplus of visits.
It’s still early, but based on an analysis of queries consumers are conducting on search engines as well as directly on some of the top retail sites like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Target, some hot product trends already emerging in advance of the holiday season:
- X-box and PS4 The two leading gaming consoles have upgraded offerings featuring more advanced and powerful systems putting them on the map to be big products for this holiday season.
- Fidget Spinner Over the past few months, these devices have been among the top searched for products searched for on Amazon and Walmart to the point where some retailers like Toys R Us have featured Fidget Central sections.
- Nintendo Searches for Nintendo are already up 719% year over year, and this was prior to their announcement last week of the launch of the SNES Classic.
- iPad and iPod Pro Tablets were not big last year, but searches for iPad are up this year with the announcement of new sizes for the iPad Pro.
- Fitbit The leading fitness tracker will make a regular appearance in the top ten products and we should expect new products to be announced in weeks ahead.
- Smart Speakers This is the category to keep an eye on this year. Searches for Echo related products are up 153%. Google home searches are up 547%. And Apple is finally getting into the game.
Smart Home products in general—a large part of the Internet of Things explosion—are a category that is becoming increasingly popular. Searches for products like Nest, Echo and Google Home have increased 261% in the past 3 years and we see big spikes in searches for these products around the holidays.
Who Are The Buyers?
Smart speaker buyers, those looking for Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, identify as leaning-left (Liberal), being health-conscious and preferring to buy online. Their household income is typically over $100,000 and they are more likely to have a college degree and kids between the ages of 3-9.
Soft Goods Searchers
While the smart speaker category is on the rise, soft good searches still make up a much larger piece of the pie.
3.1 million Americans searched for soft goods gift items (i.e. pajamas, sweaters, fleeces, etc.) last holiday season.
Who are they? This audience is 60 to 70 percent more likely to be female, age 25 to 44 and 30 percent more likely to be homemakers; however, the majority are employed full- or part-time.
Their attitudes reflect they are driven by social media ratings and reviews. They are status strivers who seek approval of neighbors and friends and they tend to enjoy browsing in person, seeking a more hands on experience.
To get the full report you can watch the recorded webinar here.
Methodology: Demographic and attitudinal data based on soft good searchers pulled in AudienceView 8 weeks ending December 24, 2016. Total top 50 retailer website visits during the 2016 season based on 9 week period ending December 31, 2016. Learn more, or get a demo of the tool here.