The folks at Google and YouTube are busier than Santa’s elves on the night before Christmas this morning. And it’s not even Halloween! Not only are they revealing their annual digital holiday shopping research, they’ve also kicked off Awesome Stuff Week on YouTube. Hey, it’s just another example of “Christmas creep.” But, let’s take a closer look at the gifts and presents that the Google and YouTube elves have left for us under the Christmas tree – more than two months early.
26% of Consumers Turn to YouTube for Shopping Inspiration
People are also increasingly turning to YouTube to help them shop, looking for advice, inspiration, or product reviews. Twenty six percent of shoppers say online videos are their go-to source for gift ideas, and 32% of shoppers say they plan to use online video more this year for holiday purchases, according to Google/Ipsos MediaCT’s 2015 Consumer Holiday Intentions Study. Additionally, people in the U.S. are spending nearly twice as much time watching fashion and apparel videos this year over last, according to YouTube data.
As people turn to YouTube to inform their purchase decisions, unboxing videos have become a growing phenomenon. In 2015 alone, people in the U.S. have watched 60 million hours of unboxing videos on YouTube, totaling 1.1 billion views, according to YouTube data. The research also shows the video sharing site has become an important part of the purchase process for consumer electronics. A surprising 64% of consumer electronics shoppers watch consumer electronics videos on YouTube one week before they purchase and 65% do so the week after they purchase, according to a Google Millward Brown CE Study in December 2014. With 2.7 million subscribers, Unbox Therapy takes a deep dive into the latest electronics on the market and gives the consumer a thorough insight into a potential purchase. Its unboxing video of the iPhone 6s and 6s plus generated 1.5 million views and 126K engagements, proving there's a real appetite for this kind of content.
To help shoppers discover more of the latest and greatest products, YouTube recently partnered with creators such as GiGiGorgeous, iJustine, Jim Chapman, and UnboxTherapy to launch Awesome Stuff Week: a series of week-long celebrations highlighting shoppable videos on YouTube. Tune in on Monday to watch the next set of shoppable videos focusing on “gadgets”.
Shopping Moments are replacing Shopping Marathons
According to Google, shopping moments will replace shopping marathons this holiday season. Rather than rely on day-long marathons at the mall over Black Friday weekend, shoppers are now turning to their mobile phones at hundreds of micro-moments throughout the day, all season long. In fact, 54% of holiday shoppers say that they plan to shop on their smartphones in spare moments throughout the day like walking or commuting.
People once planned their shopping marathons for days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. According to Google Trends, last year saw steady consumer shopping interest all season long, with fewer pronounced spikes on traditional shopping days. Now, shopping happens in the moments between everything else in our lives.
30% of All Online Purchases Happen Via Mobile Devices
This type of shopping has led to shorter, more purposeful mobile shopping sessions. In fact, while shoppers now spend 7% less time in each mobile session, the smartphone’s share of online shopping purchases has gone up 64% over the last year, and 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones, according to U.S. Google Analytics data for September 2014 vs. September 2015.
The time to start reaching these holiday shoppers is now. Google/Ipsos MediaCT found that 61% of shoppers will have already started researching their purchases before Thanksgiving weekend, up 17% from last year. While research starts early, the majority of purchasing will take place later into the holiday season, according to the 2015 Consumer Holiday Intentions Study. Why? Because there’s no longer a sense of urgency since every day is a shopping day.
Consumers are using their smartphones in all parts of the shopping process – from inspiration to research to purchasing. In fact, shopping-related searches on mobile have grown more than 120% year over year and are fast approaching those on desktop, according to Google Global search data for November 2014 to October 2015.
In addition to a rise in mobile commerce, we’re also seeing a rise in mobile’s influence on local commerce. People are increasingly using their phones to buy products in stores. More than half (52%) of shoppers plan to use a smartphone for holiday shopping this year before they visit a store, and a whopping 82% of smartphone users will consult their phone while in a store, according to the 2015 Consumer Holiday Intentions Study. And people are searching 37% more inside department stores than they were last year, according to aggregated anonymized internal Google data from a sample of U.S. users that have turned on their Location History.
While, big sale days are becoming smaller, one day still stands out in shopping popularity for mobile. Sunday is consistently the most popular day for shopping on smartphones - on average, mobile shopping searches are 18% higher on Sundays than the rest of the week, according to global Google search data for Q3 2015.
As shopping decisions are being made quicker and the expectations of consumers are getting higher, video marketers today need to think carefully about where customers are discovering, researching and ultimately purchasing their products. By understanding these patterns and by focusing on moments of intent – on both mobile and video – video marketers will win customers this holiday season.