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76% of Shoppers to Conduct Majority of their Holiday Purchases Online

New TransUnion Holiday Shopping Report finds that retailers will need to provide consumers with seamless online experiences and more to win their business

TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) newly released 2020 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report found that three in four consumers (76%) plan on conducting more than half of their holiday shopping online this year – an increase from the 57% who said the same last year. The rise in online shopping is coming partly at the expense of traditional in-store holiday shopping events such as Black Friday.

The report found that only 21% of consumers said they plan on shopping in-person for Black Friday events and deals. Additionally, one-third of consumers (32%) said they will be shopping less at brick and mortar stores this Black Friday shopping season compared to last year. TransUnion’s Holiday Shopping Report includes insights gathered from an online survey of 2,620 adults conducted in late October. This is the third iteration of the report, which has observed consumer shopping preferences during the holiday season between 2018 and 2020.

As the prevalence of online shopping continues to grow, the report found that consumers have high expectations for retailers. Consumers indicated that they want retailers to provide convenient and secure shopping experiences as well as multiple shipping and pick-up options, promotions and coupons. Retailers providing such resources are already at an advantage as 45% of consumers said they started their holiday shopping in October or earlier; another 45% said they will begin in November with the remaining 10% starting in December.

“The holiday shopping season has traditionally kicked off during Thanksgiving week, but it’s clear that a combination of factors has led nearly half of consumers to begin shopping in October or earlier,” said Shannon Wu-Lebron, senior director of retail in TransUnion’s diversified markets business. “Much of this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the greater propensity to conduct shopping online, but savvy retailers also are working to provide better online experiences and promotions to entice consumers to their websites earlier in the season.”

More Holiday Shopping Is Expected to be Conducted Online This Year









Percent of consumers that will conduct more than half of their shopping online




Percent of consumers that will conduct 100% of their shopping online




Percent of consumers who say they will spend more this holiday shopping season compared to the previous year




Consumers Seeking More Convenience This Holiday Shopping Season

The report highlighted how important convenient interactions are for many consumers. For the first time since TransUnion has conducted the survey, more consumers will be using their mobile phones to shop online than other devices such as laptops and tablets.

About 78% of consumers said they will use their mobile phones for online holiday purchases this year – up from 73% last year. Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X were the biggest users of mobile at 84% each, with Baby Boomers at only a 65% usage rate. About 71% of consumers said they will use their laptop or desktop computers and 32% will use their tablet. “It’s evident the shift to mobile is continuing in full force and this means retailers must be equipped to offer shoppers with convenient and low risk mobile shopping experiences,” said Wu-Lebron.

With more mobile phone use, features such as “pre-filling” a consumer’s personal information are becoming more important than in the past. About six in 10 (61%) consumers said it is at least moderately important to have some of their personal information pre-filled at the time of checkout. This was particularly important for the youngest generations (Gen Z – 68%; Millennials – 67%).

While shipping costs (58%) were the No. 1 reason consumers abandon their online shopping cart, payment issues (28%) and too many steps to make purchases (25%) were also cited by a good proportion of respondents.

And when ranking what is most important to them when shopping online, having multiple shipping and pick-up options ranked first (32%) followed by merchants who provide safe and secure shopping options (30%). These were followed by buying from familiar merchants (18%); merchants with lowest prices (11%); and free or low delivery fees (9%).

Online Fraudulent Activity Continues to Worry Consumers

Convenient transactions are clearly important to consumers, but security and fraud prevention are of particular concern for many shoppers this holiday season. Nearly half of survey respondents (49.6%) said they are concerned with being victimized by fraud this holiday season. This was a slight increase from last year when 46.4% were concerned.

Many consumers also do not mind going through a few extra steps to ensure a secure transaction. About 58% of respondents said they view additional identity validation steps during the check-out process positively.

Nearly 52% of respondents said account information and credit card information security are equally important to them during the holiday season. Approximately 22% of consumers prioritized protection of login ID and password while 23% said validation of credit card and identity information at checkout was most important.

Half of respondents said they would be more willing to make an online purchase from a retailer that provided two-factor or multifactor authentication rather than just username and password.

“As the pandemic progresses, it’s clear that this is going to be an unusual holiday shopping season. However, some things do not change. Consumers continually want to have more convenient interactions with retailers without foregoing security. With more and more online shopping choices, it’s critical for retailers to meet these ever-growing consumer needs,” concluded Wu-Lebron.

For more information about the 2020 TransUnion Consumer Holiday Shopping Report, please click here.

About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU)

TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good.®

A leading presence in more than 30 countries across five continents, TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people.