Digital Goods Shoppers Mean Business

November 4, 2011

elasticpath-digital-shoppers.jpg36% of “digital goods shoppers” plan to spend more on digital gifts this holiday season than last year, according to [download page] an October 2011 study from Elastic Path Software. Data from “Virtual Goods Mean Real Money This Holiday” also indicates that more of these shoppers (30%) are planning to increase spending on gifts of any kind (physical and digital combined) than the average holiday shopper (15%). According to the study, digital goods include ebooks, music files, image or movie files, game downloads, video service subscriptions, and Facebook or Xbox credits, among others. Digital content shoppers are more likely to be male than female, and are predominantly younger adults aged 18-34.

Digital Shoppers Lonely but Committed

Among all holiday shoppers surveyed, just 27% say they will purchase digital goods as gifts this holiday season, with 37% saying they will not, and the remaining 36% unsure. However, those that plan on buying digital content appear to be committed customers: 39% say they will spend more than 40% of their holiday budgets on digital goods, while a further 24% plan to spend 21-40% of their budgets on these goods. On average, digital goods shoppers plan to spend $440 on gifts this year, compared to $349 for all holiday shoppers.

Convenience Cited as Major Advantage

elasticpath-digital-goods-benefits.jpgThe top perceived advantage of digital goods over physical ones, cited by 29% of all holiday shoppers, is that they can be bought at the last minute and delivered instantly. Being faster and easier to purchase (24%), having no shipping charges (22%), and avoiding the need to wrap or ship (19%) are also quoted as major benefits. According to the study, the 27% who plan to buy digital gifts also highly value the ease of replacing them if they are lost or damaged. Of particular appeal to members of Gen Y (ages 18-34) is the convenience of being able to send digital gifts anywhere in the world, in addition to the relatively lower cost compared to physical equivalents.

Meanwhile, impersonality (32%) and the lack of cross-platform compatibility (26%) are the main disadvantages of digital gifts, followed by a less enjoyable “gift opening” experience (24%).

Gallup: Holiday Spending Looks Flat or Slightly Up

Americans forecast they will spend $712 on Christmas gifts this year, nearly identical to the $715 they estimated they would spend on Christmas at this time last year, according to data released by Gallup in October 2011. More specifically, Gallup data shows about one-quarter of Americans plan to spend at least $1,000 on gifts, another quarter say they will spend between $500 and $999, and about one-third will spend between $100 and $499. In addition, very few consumers plan to spend less than $100 while 14% are unsure. The poll, conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011, also shows little change compared with October 2010 in Americans’ estimates of whether they will spend more or less on Christmas gifts than the year before. Roughly twice as many Americans say they will spend less rather than more on gifts this year (29% compared to 15%), while 54% say they will spend about the same.

About the Data: Elastic Path Software’s online study polled 1,012 US adults over the age of 18 who intend to purchase gifts this holiday season (November and December 2011).

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