Consumers Begin to “Go Social” For Gift Recommendations

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – December 6, 2011 – Consumers are planning their shopping for this holiday season, and they are focused on clothing, technology, and children’s toys. However, Santa is not the only source for gift advice this year; consumers are utilizing multiple information sources-both traditional and emerging technology sources-in their planning and shopping process.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,499 adults surveyed online between November 7 and 14, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

    Three in five (60%) Americans said they will be shopping for clothing this holiday season, with African-American shoppers, females, and households with children most likely to include this category on their shopping list. Nearly half (46%) of shoppers will be looking for toys, with two thirds (69%) of these toy shoppers coming from households with children. Technology is high on many shoppers’ lists again this year with over a third of those shopping for gifts saying they will be shopping for either personal electronics (38%)-laptops, tablets, video games, iPods/MP3 players-or home electronics/entertainment (36%)-TVs, DVDs, etc. Consumers least likely to be shopping for these products are Matures (those ages 66+) and those in households without children.

    What is extremely interesting is the breadth of resources that consumers will be utilizing in their shopping and preparation. Consumers are still relying on more traditional sources of information-store flyers, recommendations from friends and family, and magazines/newspaper ads-as a primary source of information. However, they are also utilizing Internet resources in their shopping preparation, including company websites and search engines, especially in the personal electronics and home electronics categories (ranging from 41% to 50% in these two categories).

    This combination of traditional and technological resources is even more evident when consumers are in the stores shopping. While in-store promos, displays, and flyers are still key resources (ranging from 44% to 60% usage, depending upon the category), technology continues to grow as a shopping resource, with consumers using their mobile phones to look at price comparison sites, check pricing at other stores, and search for online coupons (ranging from a low of 6% to a high of 20%, again depending upon product category).

    We are also seeing the use of social media sites-company Facebook pages, personal Facebook pages, Twitter, blogs, etc.-in shopping activities, with from 2% to 10% of consumers utilizing at least one of these resources either prior to shopping or while they are at the store.

    So What?

    Harris Interactive is very aware of the importance of social media sites in consumer behavior, as we have recently developed WON_-the first panel-based market research metric to measure word-of-mouth as it manifests in social media. It offers quantitative categorization of comments about brands based on their positive, negative, or neutral sentiments. WON also controls for volume of conversation around a brand and provides clients with a means to predict brand performance.

    Our research has shown that the word-of-network measure filters out much of the potential noise that can pollute traditional social media monitoring and yield very misleading conclusions, said Jeni Lee Chapman, Executive Vice President, Brand and Communications Consulting at Harris Interactive. She continues, There is a practical advantage when your ‘friends’ are members of your panel. We can uncover a wealth of information about the commentators that is largely unavailable from traditional social media monitoring programs, which by their nature can only yield the most superficial information at best-and, at worst, present a distorted picture of what is happening in the real world. Our research indicates that a more comprehensive metric, like WON, can provide an early-warning signal of a brand’s real time word-of-mouth.

     

    TABLE 1

    LIKELIHOOD TO SHOP FOR GIFTS

    Please tell us how likely you are to shop for the following gifts in the following categories this holiday season.

    Base: All adults

     

     

     

    Clothing

     

     

    Toys

     

    Personal

    Electronics

    Home

    Electronics/

    Entertainment

     

    Home Decor

     

     

    Jewelry

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    EXTREMELY/SOMEWHAT LIKELY (NET)

    60

    46

    38

    36

    26

    24

    Extremely likely

    22

    24

    12

    10

    5

    6

    Somewhat likely

    38

    22

    26

    26

    20

    18

    NEITHER LIKELY NOR UNLIKELY

    16

    13

    17

    19

    20

    19

    NOT LIKELY (NET)

    24

    41

    45

    46

    54

    57

    Somewhat unlikely

    8

    9

    13

    15

    18

    16

    Not at all likely

    17

    32

    32

    31

    36

    41

    Note: Percentage may not add up to 100% due to rounding; Personal Electronics (laptops, tablets, video, games, iPods, MP3 players); Home Electronics/Entertainment (TV, DVD, etc.)


    TABLE 2

    LIKELIHOOD TO SHOP FOR GIFTS BY KEY DEMOGRAPHICS

    Please tell us how likely you are to shop for the following gifts in the following categories this holiday season.

    Percent who say Extremely/Somewhat Likely

    Base: All Adults

     

     

     

    Clothing

     

     

    Toys

     

    Personal

    Electronics

    Home

    Electronics/

    Entertainment

     

    Home Decor

     

     

    Jewelry

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    TOTAL

    60

    46

    38

    36

    26

    24

    GENDER

    Male

    54

    40

    40

    37

    22

    22

    Female

    66

    52

    36

    34

    29

    27

    RACE

    White

    59

    47

    35

    34

    26

    22

    Black

    72

    43

    50

    39

    25

    36

    Hispanic

    60

    47

    43

    41

    24

    29

    CHILDREN IN HOUSEHOLD

     

    Households with Children

    73

    69

    51

    48

    29

    26

    Households without Children

    55

    37

    33

    31

    24

    24

    GENERATION

    Echo Boomers (18-34)

    59

    48

    43

    46

    31

    27

    Generation X (35-46)

    63

    55

    45

    40

    25

    20

    Baby Boomers (47-65)

    62

    44

    38

    35

    26

    26

    Matures (66+)

    53

    33

    19

    10

    16

    22

     


    TABLE 3

    LIKELIHOOD TO USE INFORMATION SOURCES PRIOR TO SHOPPING FOR GIFTS

    Which, if any, of the following will you do before you actually go holiday shopping for gifts that are [Clothing, Toys, Personal Electronics, Home Electronics/Entertainment, Home Décor or Jewelry]?

    Base: Extremely/Somewhat Likely to Shop for Particular Category

     

     

     

    Clothing

     

     

    Toys

     

    Personal

    Electronics

    Home

    Electronics/

    Entertainment

     

    Home Decor

     

     

    Jewelry

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Go to a Company’s website to look for ideas

    29

    26

    50

    41

    38

    35

    Look at store flyers

    46

    51

    45

    44

    48

    44

    Ask for recommendations from friends & family

    31

    35

    32

    28

    34

    30

    Look at magazines or newspaper ads

    29

    29

    26

    29

    38

    23

    Ask for recommendations from children

    13

    36

    14

    13

    5

    9

    Rely on TV ads

    10

    14

    7

    11

    13

    7

    Go to a search engine (i.e.: Google, Bing)

    23

    30

    49

    50

    39

    29

    Go to a company’s Facebook site to look for ideas

    5

    5

    10

    7

    9

    3

    Check your Facebook news feed or Groups to see if your friends are posting ideas.

    3

    4

    9

    6

    8

    2

    Look at category related blogs

    3

    4

    6

    8

    7

    4

    Post a request for recommendations on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites

    1

    3

    5

    4

    3

    2

    None of these

    25

    20

    15

    18

    18

    28

    Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

     

    TABLE 4

    LIKELIHOOD TO USE INFORMATION SOURCES WHILE SHOPPING FOR GIFTS

    Which, if any, of the following activities will you do while you are actually shopping for gifts?

    Base: Extremely/Somewhat Likely to shop for gift in that category

     

     

     

    Clothing

     

     

    Toys

     

    Personal

    Electronics

    Home

    Electronics/

    Entertainment

     

    Home Decor

     

     

    Jewelry

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Look at in store product displays

    49

    49

    42

    47

    54

    51

    Look for in store promotions

    60

    50

    52

    59

    52

    50

    Look at in store flyers

    46

    53

    44

    51

    49

    44

    Ask store personnel for recommendations

    11

    10

    19

    18

    17

    21

    Look at in store demonstrations/trial

    15

    22

    26

    32

    25

    16

    Scan codes in-store to get better deals or more info about products

    8

    10

    17

    16

    14

    12

    Use your mobile phone web browser or an app to look at price comparisons

    6

    11

    15

    20

    18

    12

    Use your mobile phone web browser or an app to see if there are better prices at other stores

    6

    8

    12

    15

    12

    10

    Use your mobile phone web browser or an app to look for an online coupon

    6

    7

    10

    15

    13

    9

    Use your mobile phone web browser or an app to check a company’s Facebook site to look for ideas

    1

    2

    4

    2

    6

    3

    Use your mobile phone web browser or an app to seek recommendations on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media

    1

    3

    3

    2

    4

    3

    Use your mobile phone web browser or an app to ask for recommendations from a friend

    1

    3

    5

    4

    4

    3

    None of these

    21

    23

    24

    17

    20

    20

    Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 7 and 10, 2011 among 2,499 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

     

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40806

    Q951, 955, 960

     

    The Harris Poll ® #125, December 6, 2011

    By Mary Bouchard, Vice President, Brand and Consulting Team, Harris Interactive

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.