Shopper Sense Reveals Three Distinct Shopper Personalities that Are Full Blown During Holiday Season

Share Article

Scrooges, Ho Ho Happy Go Lucky and On a Merry Mission Shoppers Abound

Smart retailers want to deliver a feel-good experience to shoppers in their stores, carrying them to a transformative place where troubles are gone and indulgence is rewarded.

Recent research from Lily Lev-Glick, 20 year shopping behavior analyst, researcher and founder of Shopper Sense, a shopper insights and strategy company, reveals that holiday shoppers this season fall into one of three categorized groups: Scrooges, Ho Ho Happy Go Lucky and On a Merry Mission. “Shopping takes on a style all its own during the four weeks before Christmas. Our inner shopper and the characteristics that accompany those styles are at full tilt, influencing everything from where and when we shop to whether we shop solo and what our threshold is,” explained Lev-Glick, who has studied the art and science of purchase behavior for two decades. “Whether male or female, shoppers tend to fit into a handful of groups that define their mindset on the path to purchase and how they perceive, approach, and navigate store choice.”

An analysis based on data from a holiday shopper insights study conducted by Shopper Sense clustered respondents based on their level of agreement with a broad set of attitudinal statements regarding this holiday season. The analysis yielded three distinct segments, each of which possesses unique attitudes and behaviors as they relate to holiday shopping in 2012.

Segment #1: “On a Merry Mission”    
This segment’s name reflects the way in which they are attacking gift buying. While they typically enjoy the task at hand they are defined by two primary factors. First, is their approach to developing a shopping strategy and then staying focused while executing. These shoppers consider themselves to be planners. They rely heavily on pre-store information to help guide them on where they will shop and what items they will look for, and often go so far as to determine the brands they want to buy before they head out into the retail jungle. Most of these shoppers (85%) select stores that offer a wide array of items. Their satisfaction comes from getting exactly what they set out for. They tend to prefer to shop alone and will try to not get distracted by looking around at items outside of their plan.

The second driver of this group is price sensitivity. These shoppers are not loyal to any particular retailer. They will shop for the best deal and leave a store if they feel they can get a better price elsewhere for an item they want. Nearly two-thirds of these shoppers (64%) say great deals and specials are extremely important to them when selecting which specific stores to shop in. They wait for an item to go on sale even if it means the risk of missing out on it.

Lev-Glick’s Retail Strategies for the “On a Merry Mission” Segment

Be sure that promoted items seen by shoppers in pre-store media are easy to find, accessible, and consistent in the store.
Continue ongoing communication about specials and deals via print and digital/electronic formats.
Cross merchandising and displays that cut through store clutter should be primary strategies for breaking through this group’s exploration barrier.
Consider price matching to mitigate losing sales due to showrooming and lower priced competitors.
Carry a wide variety of merchandise and offer up comparable alternatives when products are out of stock.

Segment #2: “Ho Ho Happy Go Lucky”        
This shopper segment is all about the gift buying experience and enjoying the process (81% report that it is important to shop in stores that are fun and entertaining). These shoppers get an emotional high from the holiday cheer while trolling among the crowds and they would rather hit the mall than hit the sack with their spouses (46%). They are strongly influenced by the retail environment and admit to being easily tempted by attractive merchandising and displays. They self describe as impulsive when it comes to gift buying. This segment is far less price sensitive than the others and they don’t mind paying full price for gifts they really want to give. Finding that “just right” holiday gift is more important to these shoppers than saving money and the majority (82%) prefers stores that carry unique and interesting products.

Lev-Glick’s Retail Strategies for the “Ho Ho Happy Go Lucky” Segment

Create an interactive and fun, festive environment that goes beyond signage and messaging to tap into this shopper’s holiday spirit.
Position knowledgeable and engaging retail staff front and center to deliver a positive vibe that will capture this segment’s share of heart and wallet.
A unique product assortment that differentiates the store will capitalize on this segment’s priority for thoughtful, targeted gifts.
Bundle mainstream products with unique companion items to leverage impulsivity and deliver creativity.

Segment #3: “Scrooge”    
The Scrooge segment experiences holiday shopping as a chore and obligation. They dread the process and face the experience with anxiety over having to spend money on gifts (85% rate everyday low prices as an important factor when selecting which stores to shop in). This disposition is compounded by the feeling of time pressure from their everyday lives.    They approach gift shopping with a restrained mindset and are more likely to shop the same stores they usually do. When a store is out of stock they feel more frustrated than others.

Lev-Glick’s Retail Strategies for the “Scrooge” Segment

Provide rewards programs that take the sting out of spending by delivering money back into shoppers’ pockets or allow shoppers to earn redeemable points towards future purchases.
Implement time saving strategies such as the option to order online and pick up at the store, quick checkout, and tactics that will allow shoppers to easily find what they are looking for.
Offer exclusive products and specials available in-store only to offset this segment’s proclivity to shop online.
Reward loyalty, respect the shopper’s time, and communicate appreciation that they have selected your store.

According to Lev-Glick, retailers play to the Ho Ho Happy shoppers who are more emotionally and spontaneously charged than other shopper personalities. “Smart retailers want to deliver a feel-good experience to shoppers in their stores, carrying them to a transformative place where troubles are gone and indulgence is rewarded. Many retailers succeed, while others, because of poor visual architecture or merchandising and messaging that fail to engage, sabotage the shopping experience without knowing it. Today’s retailer is under more pressure than ever to successfully and emotionally stimulate shoppers on a number of levels within seconds of entering a store,” said Lev-Glick, who works with retailers and agencies to strategize optimal shopping environments that stimulate shopper engagement, activate effective merchandising, and deliver savvy retail staging for a winning retail experience.

Shoppers may possess traits that draw from across all the segments, Lev-Glick said, but most stay true to their inner shopper throughout the holidays.

About Shopper Sense

Shopper Sense works with clients to create solutions to the challenges of today’s rapidly changing shopper and retail marketplace. Packaged goods companies, in-store marketing and merchandising agencies, and retailers are the primary populations for our quantitative and qualitative market research, activation of shopper insights, and strategic analyses for the tactical development of effective in-store marketing and merchandising initiatives. We close the loop through an end-to-end model that drives solutions to win at retail. For more information on the holiday shopper insights study or Shopper Sense, please visit or call 201-244-8796.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Lily Lev-Glick

Heidi Raker
Follow us on
Visit website