New insights from a recent consumer study conducted by Contentsquare have brought to the forefront the key frustrations experienced by online holiday shoppers. These critical “pain points” encompass issues such as sluggish website loading times, an inundation of pop-up advertisements, and the disappointment of encountering out-of-stock products.

In addition to these common grievances, shoppers also voiced their frustration with the absence of convenient quick-purchase options during the checkout process, including popular choices like PayPal or Apple Pay. Further complicating the online shopping experience were challenges like suboptimal search results, websites not optimized for mobile use, and promotions that failed to function correctly.

John O’Melia, the Chief Customer Officer at Contentsquare, underscored the significance of delivering a smooth online shopping journey while minimizing sources of irritation for consumers. He pointed out that even during the holiday season, when cart abandonment rates traditionally dip compared to other times of the year, a notable occurrence of “rage clicking” suggests that shoppers can become notably more frustrated when navigating e-commerce platforms. O’Melia issued a cautionary note to retailers, highlighting the potential consequences of neglecting issues such as slow loading times, excessive pop-ups, stock unavailability, and inconvenient payment options, which could translate into substantial losses in terms of both customers and sales.

The survey outcomes unveiled that 54 percent of respondents would consider switching to a different website if a retailer’s site or app took too long to load. Furthermore, over one-third of shoppers indicated that they might rethink finalizing a holiday purchase if a promotional offer failed to operate correctly. Moreover, the absence of free shipping dissuaded 25 percent of surveyed consumers from completing their purchases, while 15 percent abandoned their transactions due to a slow or crashed checkout page.

These findings serve as a cautionary signal for retailers, particularly at a time when consumers are displaying increased prudence and frugality in their spending habits. This heightened consumer conservatism has amplified the competitive landscape for brands and retailers vying for a share of the consumer’s wallet. Consequently, retailers that can offer a seamless and frustration-free online shopping experience are poised to gain a competitive edge.

Nevertheless, certain market segments are anticipated to maintain steady sales performance. According to the Contentsquare report, the luxury vertical is expected to thrive, with 27 percent of shoppers expressing enthusiasm for purchasing luxury items during the holiday season. Other popular items include gift cards (16 percent), apparel and shoes (15 percent), electronics (12 percent), and toys (11 percent).

Additional insights from the study indicate that 67 percent of consumers expect to spend as much time, if not more, on holiday shopping compared to the previous year. Moreover, 45 percent of respondents plan to initiate their holiday shopping during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. The online shopping arena is set to play a significant role this year, with a whopping 80 percent of shoppers intending to conduct at least half of their holiday shopping online. It’s noteworthy that 44 percent of shoppers prefer the convenience of online shopping from the comfort of their couch while watching television. During the holiday season, nearly 60 percent of consumers favor weekdays for their online shopping activities.

Furthermore, the research highlights that the shopping experience holds greater sway over consumers than social media. While 36 percent of respondents use social media platforms for gift inspiration, only 13 percent actually make direct purchases from social media channels such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Additionally, the influence of social media influencers appears to be diminishing, with 69 percent of respondents indicating that recommendations from these influencers would not impact their holiday purchasing decisions significantly.