A new survey by Deluxe Corporation demonstrates a major shift in consumer shopping habits as more than three-quarters of those surveyed report that they plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to make online purchases this year, as well as 83 percent of households with kids. Interestingly, 48 percent of people 65 and older also planned to shop for holiday gifts online.

Part of this survey looked specifically at the Internet habits of potential shoppers, providing small business owners with key insights as to the most effective approaches to online marketing. When it comes to search engines, over two-thirds of shoppers revealed that they don’t scroll beyond the first two pages of search results. Specifically, 25 percent of online shoppers don’t even go beyond the first page, with those in younger age brackets and more wealthy consumers most likely to stop their online search at this point.

The same survey also provides some good news for brick and mortar small businesses and boutique stores: namely, that those customers with higher incomes (over $100,000 per year) and no children are much more likely to shop inside local businesses. Megan Kavanaugh, Executive Director at Bags & Bows, says that the personal touch and individual attention that they are able to offer consumers (including custom wrapping services and/or providing attractive gift bags for products that help eliminate the wrapping hassle) is one of many reasons why shoppers prefer patronizing smaller businesses during this busy time of the year.

This survey demonstrates that when it comes to being competitive this holiday season, small businesses have several opportunities available to them. Clearly, the Internet shopping forum continues to grow in importance, but what small businesses have to offer to local consumers retains a great deal of value as well. And when it comes to dealing with bigger online competitors, this survey underscores the importance of focusing on strong online rankings, particularly for small businesses, and the ways in which Internet marketing initiatives and strategies can really pay off in terms of drawing more business.


Deluxe Corporation. “Holiday Shoppers Flocking Online” 11/9/2012.

ESB Journal. “Survey Reveals a Big Opportunity for Small Businesses” 11/14/12.

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