Q&A: Sharon Banfield, Director of Public Relations, PriceGrabber

PriceGrabber, an online shopping site and platform, recently released a Mother’s Day Shopping survey. The survey reveals that 60% of consumers will purchase Mother’s day gifts online.

The survey was conducted April 3-17 and includes responses from 3,171 U.S. online shopping consumers. 

Sharon Banfield, Director of Public Relations for PriceGrabber, participated in an enlightening Q&A to discuss the survey and resulting rends.

Can you talk about what you think are the biggest takeaways from the study and what retailers can take from this that can assist them in the future?

One of the biggest takeaways from the Mother’s Day survey is the importance of what really matters to mom… quality time with family. When it comes to gifts, moms preferred gift cards, flowers and jewelry most. Moms are in luck this year; when we asked consumers what they plan to give their mothers for the holiday, flowers and quality time topped the list. When we look at the top ten gifts mom prefers and the top ten gifts she will receive, we see many of the same choices in each category. One selection that is in the “top ten gifts mom wants” but was not included in the “top 10 gifts mom will receive” is vacation packages (as 18% of moms want vs 4% who will purchase this).

For retailers, a big takeaway from this survey is that free shipping continues to entice consumers. Budget-conscious consumers are looking to save money anywhere they can, and offering free shipping is a great way to gain consumer confidence and loyalty. In other PriceGrabber surveys, free shipping has continued to top the list as an incentive to purchase. Retailers need to get in front of consumers early and consistently to advertise free shipping. With so much competition, an incentive like free shipping could be the deciding factor for shoppers when choosing what retailer to ultimately purchase from.

Another trend to watch is mobile shopping. With the popularity of smartphones and tablets, more consumers are browsing, comparing prices, and purchasing gifts online from their mobile device. With the Internet so readily available on-the-go, and as customers check prices from their mobile device while in stores, many brick-and-mortar retailers have offered to match prices in order to combat show-rooming.

Is there anything unique about Mother’s Day, from a shopping/customer standpoint, than other holidays?

Mother’s Day is one of the most successful holidays for retailers across the U.S. and one of the biggest days for flowers. Other than Christmas and Hanukkah, more people buy flowers and plants for Mother's Day, accounting for one quarter of all holiday sales of flowers and plants.

How do the survey results compare to recent years?

Overall, questions about Mother’s Day budgets, timing, retailer tactics, and shopping preferences are similar to last year. We offered more gift choices in the survey this year (gifts that consumers plan to buy) and results align similarly with top choices (flowers, gift cards, clothing & accessories). However, a noticeable difference was gifts in the tech category. Last year, 15% planned to purchase a tech-type gift for mom such as a smartphone, computer, or tablet, vs. only 4% this year. For the first time, we also asked mothers what they prefer to receive for the holiday.

Is personalization emphasized more at Mother’s Day?

PriceGrabber survey results revealed that moms values quality time over gifts, however consumers will still look to buy something special for her this year. People this year will look for special ways to treat mom to something nice without breaking the bank, knowing it’s the thought that counts not the value of the gift.  Sentimental touches, like unique and personalized gifts, can make all mothers feel appreciated. Personalized gifts that show gratitude without breaking budgets are always popular around Mother’s Day.

Have customer expectations changed and, if so, how? 

This year, similar to prior seasons, consumers expect to have the choice of various competitive offers from merchants. Retailers have taken this opportunity to attract Mother’s Day shoppers with promotions on apparel items, health and beauty products, jewelry, restaurant/dining options and more.           

Similar to last year, this year $50-$99 will be the average amount spent, according to the PG survey. Mother’s Day deals, discounts and freebies can help celebrate mom without sacrificing the budget. Buy one get one free, special online promotion codes, spend a certain dollar amount and receive a percentage off the entire purchase type of offers. 

The PriceGrabber survey indicated that consumer sentiment has increased slightly over the economy. And while practicality will reign strong this Mother’s Day season, so will celebrating the “moms” in our lives. 

What trends do you see from the survey?

Mother’s Day has turned into a universal celebration that crosses all ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries. Consumers will be buying more traditional gifts like brunch/dinner, flowers and jewelry. 

According to the PriceGrabber Mother’s Day survey, shoppers indicated they will wait to the last minute (1-2 weeks before the holiday) to make purchases when they believe the best deals will be available. Sure, it’s Mom we’re talking about, but over the past decade retailers have taught consumers if they wait long enough, eventually there’s a deal to be had.

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