Marking the first major holiday shopping season in recent years without the failed retail giants Toys R Us and Babies R Us, the majority of consumers (65%) said they would be frequenting bricks-and-mortar stores but, at the same time, they also wanted the convenience of using mobile apps for at least some of their toy and baby product purchases, according to research from advertising platform provider Criteo. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The study, entitled "Toys'R'Us and Babies'R'Us Shopper Survey Findings", noted that there were millions of previously loyal Toys'R'Us shoppers still "up for grabs" during the 2018 holiday shopping season.

"This shopper insights demonstrate the critical importance of a seamless offline and online shopper journey for retailers looking to gain market share in the wake of these retail giant bankruptcies," said Jaysen Gillespie, Criteo, VP, Head of Analytics and Insights. "For both holiday and everyday purchases, shoppers rely on digital channels for convenience but still crave in-store experiences with their families, especially when searching for the perfect toy. Brands that can offer both will have a significant advantage among competitors."

Additional findings from the study included:

  1. Digital Players Poised to Take Market-Share
    In aggregate, Amazon is the first choice for Toys'R'Us & Babies'R'Us shoppers to use as a replacement for toy and baby products, followed closely by Walmart and then Target (in the US). However, factors such as household income and Amazon Prime membership are correlated with consumer preferences for a replacement retailer.
  2. Bricks-and-Mortar is Not Dead
    59% of Toys'R'Us & Babies'R'Us shoppers confirmed they made purchases within physical stores and indicated the importance of a positive in-store experience.
  3. Convenience is Key
    Two out of three Toys'R'Us & Babies'R'Us shoppers used to have a store within 20 minutes from their home. For convenience-oriented shoppers, Walmart and Target were chosen by a whopping 78% of respondents as their preferred replacement retailer. Conversely, for the 55% of respondents who don't care about location, Amazon was the winning choice.
  4. App Purchases Drive Competitiveness
    The majority of shoppers (59% for Toys'R'Us and 73% for Babies'R'Us) also indicated that they are "interested" or "very interested" in buying via the app of their preferred replacement retailer. App-forward retailers are therefore likely to drive a competitive advantage over app-averse or app-neutral retailers.
  5. Retailer Selection is Driven by Shopper Demographics
    41% of lower income Toys'R'Us & Babies'R'Us shoppers would choose Walmart as their new retailer of choice, while the Target-preferring cohort over-indexed on higher-income shoppers.
  6. Consumers Expect a Broad Product Selection
    Retailers in line to capture Toys'R'Us market share need to focus on inventory. A majority of respondents confirmed that at least 60% of their shopping needs for toys and baby products were met at Toys'R'Us & Babies'R'Us - reducing the friction of having to visit multiple stores or websites.

"One of the great joys of shopping at Toys'R'Us & Babies'R'Us was the incredible level of assortment that would expand the planned holiday purchase," said Amy Lanzi, EVP, North America Commerce Practice Lead at Publicis Media. "Target and Walmart are working hard to create meaningful experiences that encourage basket-building discovery moments at their stores, and online, that fit the varied price and convenience expectations of today's holiday shoppers."