Cisco: Here’s what online holiday shoppers want – and don’t want

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Holiday shopping
Online holiday shoppers have high expectations.

A lot of holiday shopping will happen online this year, but customers will be picky about the experience.

On average, consumers expect that 59% of their spending on key shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be online this year rather than in-store, compared to 53% in 2022, according to a new consumer survey from Cisco AppDynamics, 

More than four in 10 (43%) respondents expect to do more of their holiday shopping online (through applications and digital services) in 2023 than in 2022, as opposed to only 13% who plan to make fewer online holiday purchases year-over-year.

As to why consumers like online holiday shopping, 48% said it's because it makes their budgets stretch further and 42% said it's because it gives them more choices. Thirty-one percent said it avoids last-minute panic buying in stores.

The perils of a bad online shopping experience

Two-thirds of respondents, and three-quarters of U.S. respondents, said that it doesn’t matter how good the deals that retailers offer are,  there is still no excuse for poor online shopping experiences. Close to two-thirds (64%) of respondents said that if the applications and digital services they will use to do their holiday shopping this year fail to perform, it will leave them feeling anxious and angry.

In addition, close to six in 10 (58%) respondents said that retail brands will have one shot to impress them this holiday season, and if their digital service or application does not perform well, they won’t use it again. And seven in 10 (71%) stated that if the applications and digital services that they will use for their holiday shopping fail to perform, they will be more inclined to go back to shopping in-store.

“With greater numbers of shoppers planning to spend a bigger proportion of their holiday shopping budgets online this year, retail leaders will be looking to maximize this opportunity,” James Harvey, CTO, EMEA, Cisco, said in a corporate blog post. “But they need to recognize that in order to do this, their applications and digital services must be operating at peak performance at all times. Consumers will only want to buy from retailers that are able to offer both great deals and seamless digital experience.”

[Read more: ICSC: Consumers to balance in-store, online shopping for holidays]

The research was conducted among more than 12,000 consumers in 12 countries, including the U.S.