Seeing Santa in the store with children enhances the holiday shopping experience for 66% of U.S. shoppers, according to LoyaltyOne nationwide survey research, which is designed to provide timely data on the consumer mindset.
The survey results also indicate that Santa’s in-store future is safe in the hands of young Millennials. Seventy-one percent of consumers ages 18 to 24 said encountering Santa in the store enriches the holiday shopping experience. That exceeds the 66% score for the general population (18 to 65 and over) and rivals the 65-and-over age group (72%) for the highest score among all demographics surveyed.
But Santa takes a back seat to another venerable holiday tradition when it comes to putting cheer into the seasonal gift-buying excursion. No less than 76% of all consumers said that hearing carols and other holiday music in the store enhances their Yuletide shopping trip.
Shoppers’ good tidings and cheer, however, do not mean they’re willing to cut retailers any slack when it comes to poor service. Seventy-two percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: I am more understanding if a salesperson is rude during the busy holiday sales season.
In fact, 81% of consumers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: I am more offended if a sales person is rude at a time when he or she should value my business.
“Pricing is important but it’s not everything. This research underscores how critical it is for retailers to make the overall holiday shopping experience memorable and delightful,” LoyaltyOne vice president Dennis Armbruster said. “These results are illuminating, I think, for retailers who are unsure about the significance that consumers still attach to traditional elements of the holiday shopping experience, such as Santa and seasonal music."
“Additionally, this research should dispel any notion that a customer’s encounter with a salesperson is less of a high-risk touch point during the holiday season hustle and bustle,” Armbruster said. “Retailers that fail to address poor service during the holidays jeopardize customer loyalty and risk significant revenue losses.”
Other highlights from this month’s survey of consumer attitudes reveal differences in millennial sentiments versus the general public on in-store holiday shopping:
- At 78%, young Millennials (18 to 24) scored higher than any other age group for appreciating in-store carols and seasonal music
- 40% of young Millennials and 31% of older Millennials (25 to 34) said they had a poor shopping experience last year that ruined their holiday mood, versus 20% of the general population
- Just 53% of young Millennials said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: I am more understanding if a salesperson is rude during the holidays, compared to 72% of the general population
- At 65%, older Millennials were less patient with salesperson rudeness than young Millennials, but more patient than the general population
- 42% of older Millennials and 37% of young Millennials said an encounter with a condescending salesperson would prevent them from returning to a store for holiday shopping, versus 32% for the general population
In other highlights from the in-store holiday shopping research:
- Among the general population, 50% said an encounter with a salesperson who took a “that’s not my department” attitude would prevent me from returning to a store, followed by 32% citing a condescending salesperson, followed by 18% who said they would not return to a store after an encounter with a salesperson who knew nothing about the item they were seeking
- Twenty-nine percent said that each holiday shopping season there is at least one store that loses their business due to a rude salesperson or poor service
The LoyaltyOne survey results are based on an online survey in November 2015 of 1,267 American consumers.
[Image: Getty Images/RubberBall Productions]