Forecast : Online Holiday Shoppers to Exceed Traditional Shopping Spend

As Christmas approaches, not only are shoppers thronging the streets to hunt down great gifts for family and friends, but they are also trawling the Internet for that special something. Online shopping has fast gained popularity with many this festive season to the extent that online shoppers are expected to spend more per capita than traditional shoppers over the holiday season. Gift cards are also becoming highly coveted – so those who are short on ideas may well be considering that as a gift!

To gain insights into the holiday spending trends in Singapore, MasterCard Worldwide recently commissioned a survey on shopping behavior and patterns. The survey set out to explore four major strands:

1. Assessing holiday shopping trends and activities
2. Measuring online shopping behaviors
3. Understanding cardholders’ payment preferences
4. Gauging respondent reactions to gift cards

The results provide many interesting insights into the shopping behaviors of Singaporeans during the peak holiday season.

Holiday shopping trends and activities

• 45% of respondents believe that the Saturday before Christmas is likely to be the busiest shopping day, with 20% indicating that Christmas Eve would be the most hectic.

• 62% of respondents expect to complete their holiday shopping by mid-December whilst 3% stated that they intend to be finished by February. This either making them super organized or very late!

• Across all respondents, the average expected spend on holiday gifts this year is Sin$1000 per capita, with clothing and accessories being the most popular purchases.

Online shopping behaviors

• Online shopping is definitely gaining favor amongst Singaporeans with 35% of respondents indicating that they used the Internet for holiday shopping last year

• Of the 65% who did not shop online last year, 41% are looking to start shopping online this year, bringing the total of all respondents intending to shop for holiday gifts online this year to 60%.

• Those shopping on the Internet are expected to spend more than one-third of their holiday budget on online gifts, with event or vacation trip tickets being the most popular purchases.

• Interestingly, online shoppers are also expected to spend slightly more than traditional shoppers (S$1,045) with their average spend per capita being S$1,148.

Payment Patterns

• Singaporeans aspire to be budget savvy with 7 out of 10 setting a budget for their holiday shopping.

• However, in reality, many are generous to a fault as two of those same 10 stated that they tended to exceed their budget ‘always’ and a further 6 did so ‘sometimes’.

• Primarily using a debit card for holiday shopping is recognized as being a way to help keep within budget by 6 out of 10 respondents.

• 62% are choosing credit cards as their preferred payment option.

Gift Cards and their Popularity

• 26% of respondents find gift cards very appealing with 70% stating that they would consider giving a prepaid MasterCard gift card as a present this year.

• On being shown six different varieties of prepaid gift cards (retail store, mall, restaurant, services or experiences, online, and MasterCard), a 47% majority of respondents said they would prefer a MasterCard prepaid gift card Interestingly, more than twice the number of respondents liked the idea of receiving a gift card as compared to giving them (24% versus 9%).

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