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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MarketLive Reveals Consumer Buying Trends for 2014 Online Shopping Season

Consumer Shopper Survey Finds Sharp Increase in Social Network Purchase Influence; Steady Increases in Mobile Shopping

Petaluma, CA – October 9, 2014– MarketLive, the leading Total Commerce technology platform for fast-growing retailers, today released results from its annual online shopper survey for the 2014 holiday retail season. The survey data highlights key buying trends for the upcoming holiday season and provides merchants with a roadmap for engaging shoppers during the next few months. Survey results show 36% of shoppers intend to buy gifts via their mobile device, up 29% from last year, and 49% will make purchases based on a social referral, mandating that retailers focus on the experience they provide their customers via these two channels. While competition from Amazon and its influence on pricing is always an issue, the survey shows that retailers can have a great holiday season by focusing on key areas that will affect shopping behavior.

"The survey results highlight key strategies we are suggesting our merchants implement for the holiday season. Providing an engaging and optimized mobile experience is paramount given that online purchases completed on a mobile device continue to sharply trend upward, as well as pre-purchase activities on mobile such as researching prices and looking up store inventory to see if that special gift is in stock," said Ken Burke, founder and CEO of MarketLive. "In addition, we are advising our merchants to pay attention to their social channels this season. Revenue from the channel may still be growing slowly, but the survey underlines interesting changes in the role of social influence on gift purchases this holiday season. We may have finally turned the corner on social commerce."

Highlights of the mobile, gifting, and social network findings from the 40-question survey report follow below.

Survey Methodology:
The 2014 MarketLive holiday shopper survey consisted of a random sample of 1,000 U.S. consumers who had shopped online at least four times within the past year, own a smartphone, and typically spend $250 or more online annually. The sample was balanced 50% male and 50% female, and all questionnaires were completed during September of 2014. Median age of the sample was 40.6, median household income was $66,146, and 61% attained a college degree or higher.

Mobile Trends – Now a critical revenue producing channel:
The bottom line is that more than ever, shoppers will purchase via their mobile devices – retailers must ensure a user friendly, optimized mobile experience or risk losing critical revenue this holiday season. Pre-purchase research and actual purchase transactions made from smartphones, tablets and mobile apps continue to increase each year. For 2014, we see 36% of respondents planning to purchase half or more of their gifts via a mobile device, a sharp increase from the prior year:

  • 70% are likely to research on their smartphones the gifts they find in retail stores
  • 56% are likely to reserve products from their smartphones for subsequent pick-up at retail stores

Social Influence – Social Networks are coming into their own and influencing buying behavior:
While social networks have long been rumored to influence consumer behavior, that influence has not been reliably documented at the cash register – until now. Our 2014 survey showed significant proportions of shoppers being influenced by (and participating in) social sites and friends during their upcoming holiday shopping: In terms of importance (very + somewhat), survey respondents reported the following:

  • 30% of shoppers have made a purchase via social in the last year, an increase of 12% over 2013
  • 49% will make a purchase because of a social referral
  • 44% intend to discover new products via social networks

Social Participation:
In addition to receiving influence from social networks, respondents also showed a heightened obligation to contribute to social sites as well:

  • 52% feel it is important to review products they have purchased
  • 48% say it is important to share product recommendations with friends/family via social channels
  • 42% will pin items on Pinterest

Gifting Trends:
Consumers' choice of which online retailer to purchase gifts from is often driven by where the 'perfect gift' is in stock and how close at hand is the holiday shipping deadline. However, retailers can capture a larger Average Order Value by recognizing that holiday shoppers are often buying for themselves even as they shop for others:

  • 60% intend to purchase 11 or more gifts
  • 55% will spend $500 or more on gifts this holiday season (both online and offline)
  • 43% will pay full price in order to get the "perfect gift" for someone on their list
  • What might prevent buying gifts online?
    - High shipping costs (42%)
    - Enjoy the spirit of being in stores during the holiday season (28%)
    - Finding it easier to research and compare products in the store (16%)
  • High shipping costs (64%) or hidden shipping costs (52%) are top reasons why consumers will abandon gift items in their cart

"This year's survey results underline the need for retailers to prepare to be able to meet consumers' online shopping expectations across all channels. It is critical that consumer experiences online, in-store, via mobile and social are all exemplary and aligned to optimize their business," said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group, a market research firm that conducts the annual shopper survey for MarketLive

About Marketlive

Since 1995, MarketLive, Inc., has been the leading provider of eCommerce technology and services that help fast-growing companies successfully sell goods and services online. Designed to meet the unique requirements of catalogers, retailers, direct marketers, and manufacturers, the extensible MarketLive® Customer Driven Commerce technology and services solution integrates commerce across all channels, enabling merchants to enhance their customers' experience online while dramatically improving acquisition, conversion, and retention rates.
The MarketLive platform is the most retail-targeted, fully featured, customizable eCommerce solution on the market today. MarketLive powers many successful retail eCommerce sites, including Armani Exchange, Party City, Perricone MD, Sport Chalet, Sundance, Helzberg Diamonds, John Deere, Title Nine, Intermix and others.

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