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Consumers were polled in early November about holiday shopping plans and behaviors, as well as what annoys them the most during the holiday shopping season.

Broken or hard-to-use app and website features (47%) and pointless emails (53%) were the top two tech-related complaints. As an aside, retailers playing holiday music in October was the second biggest annoyance, slightly edging out poor app and website functionality. 

Music to brands’ ears

The majority of respondents said that they are more likely to complete holiday shopping on a brand’s app, website or in-store (direct channels), versus indirect channels — search engines, social networks and third-party marketplaces.  “For brands, this means more first-party data, and higher margins,” commented Tom Butta, chief strategy and marketing officer of Airship, the survey sponsor and mobile app experience company.

Slightly more (1%) said they started their holiday shopping on indirect vs. direct channels. This slight preference during the discovery or list-making stage of holiday shopping, held true across generations, other than Gen Z, where 56% were still likely to favor direct channels.


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An appy holiday

From October 1 to Cyber Monday, the average daily number of people adding a new retail app to their phone across Airship’s platform increased 21% year-over-year. 

2022 app download figures show substantial growth over 2021 with a large spike near the Thanksgiving holiday. Image source: Airship

Like last year, new retail app installs peaked on Black Friday at nearly double the daily average holiday season rate. Black Friday, consistently for several years, is the top day of the year for people to add a retail app to their phones.

Unlike 2021, people added new retail apps to their mobile phones at a greater and consistent rate starting in early November. In fact, three of the top five days for retail app installs in 2022 were Nov. 18 to 20.

While last year, supply chain shortages helped widened the holiday shopping season, this year merchants had too much inventory and consumers were more motivated to find the best deals fueled by inflationary concerns. And everyone knows, the good stuff (and the best value) is in the app.

The survey was conducted in early November by Airship via Pollfish. One thousand people in the U.S.,  ages 18 to 75+ years old, shared insight on their holiday gift shopping plans and attitudes.

Data on the growth in new retail app installs was derived from Airship’s platform, which powers messaging and mobile app experiences for hundreds of retail brands and thousands of businesses across most industry verticals.

Read the full report from Airship.

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