Late Holiday Shoppers are a Key Demographic for Small Businesses

As small business owners wrap up an intense Black Friday and Cyber Monday season, they should brace for a significant wave of late holiday shoppers. According to the latest Shopify-Gallup Holiday Shopping Pulse, a substantial portion of U.S. consumers, nearly 49%, intend to do most of their holiday shopping in December. This trend presents a unique opportunity for small businesses to capitalize on the late shopping surge.

The survey, which included 1,888 U.S. adults, revealed some intriguing insights. Notably, 16% of participants admitted they wouldn’t begin their holiday shopping until December, with a striking gender divide: 21% of men versus 11% of women. Additionally, younger shoppers, particularly those under 50, are more prone to delay their shopping, with 53% stating they’ll do most or all of it in December. This behavior is primarily driven by financial considerations, as younger shoppers often need to accumulate enough funds to buy gifts.

In contrast, the primary reason cited by men for their late shopping is procrastination, with 31% acknowledging this trait. An interesting aspect is the preference for shopping in December, aligning with the holiday season’s spirit.

Another significant trend is the increased appeal of in-person shopping in December. A majority of the surveyed shoppers (56%) expressed a preference for physical retail stores during this month, highlighting an opportunity for small businesses with brick-and-mortar locations to attract these consumers. The importance of Shopify’s POS system and its new POS Terminal and Countertop Kit becomes evident in this context, offering small businesses robust solutions for handling high transaction volumes and foot traffic in December.

Observations from Shopify merchants further substantiate these findings. Emani Jeter, founder of Beauty Strike in Brooklyn, notes a distinct pattern in holiday gift sales: early shoppers dominate before Black Friday, followed by a lull, and then a resurgence from late shoppers, primarily men, just before Christmas. Similarly, Erin Andrews of Indi Chocolate in Seattle prepares for a surge of last-minute shoppers, predominantly younger and middle-aged men, on Christmas Eve by stocking up on ready-to-go gift sets.

For small businesses looking to leverage this trend, several strategies can be effective:

  • Selling Digital Gift Cards: A convenient option for last-minute shoppers, easily implemented through the Shopify app.
  • Creating a Gift Guide: This simplifies the shopping process for those in a hurry.
  • Offering Fast Shipping: Automating expedited shipping options through Shopify Flow can be a game-changer.
  • Managing Inventory Effectively: Ensuring popular items like gift bundles remain in stock through December is crucial.

As the holiday season enters its final stretch, small businesses are well-positioned to cater to the needs of late holiday shoppers. By understanding their preferences and preparing accordingly, small businesses can not only meet the demand but also create a memorable shopping experience for these customers.

Image: Envato Elements

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor at Small Business Trends. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.

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