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Girl Holiday Shopping
Girl Holiday Shopping. Dougal Waters Creative #: 156905874

Smart Retailers Recognize and Respond to 8 Regional Consumer Differences

A survey conducted in December 2015 by CivicScience engaged 12,000 American online shoppers in thoughtful responses about holiday shopping. While the goal was to better understand what consumers love and hate most about holiday shopping, how much shopping they had left to or intended to still do, and what food and other items for entertaining they are buying to help celebrate the holidays.

Consumers differ on a regional basis in ways that are significant for retailers to understand.  CivicScience, in a partnership with NPD, obtained data that shows a spectrum of differences with shoppers on the West Coast and the Northwest more alike and shoppers in the South and Midwest more alike.  That is to say that the spectrum changes from the West to the Midwest to the South and to the Northeast. 

The Wild, Wild West

Westerners will tell you they are laid back when it comes to holiday shopper, but CivicScience is more candid: Westerners tend to procrastinate when it comes to accomplishing their holiday shopping.  By mid-December, 34 percent of the holiday shoppers in the American West still had not started to work through their holiday gift list.  Compare this figure to the folks in New York, only 26 percent of whom were late shoppers. 

Tradition, Tradition

Traditions die hard in the Northwest, and holiday greeting cards are a good example.

While only 68 percent of Americans living in the West send conventional paper greeting cards, 72 percent of Americans living in the Northeast do. Though it is likely not a reflection on their use of technology in their day-to-day lives, there were some important differences in the selection of digital holiday e-cards.

  Where 13 percent of Western American sent digital e-cards, the numbers were much lower for other regions. Only 7 percent of the Northeasterners sent digital e-cards, while folks from other regions followed suit in much smaller percentages.  The Southerners were at 8 percent and the Midwesterners chose digital at about 10 percent. 

How Far Does a Fir Tree Travel to Be Put Up in Someone's Home?

An opposite traditional tendency is seen in the selection of Christmas trees. Interestingly, 39 percent of American Westerners choose real evergreens, a five percent higher rate than even Northeasterners, who are surrounded by acres of living evergreen trees. Without the natural stands of native evergreen trees, not surprisingly, only 19 percent of Midwesterners chose fresh fir trees for their homes at Christmas time.

Feast, Famine, or Holiday Diet?

Traditional holiday feasts are not generally that healthy. But folks living on the West Coast tend to be quite health conscious, and their holiday meals reflect this consciousness. In an online poll conducted the first week of December in 2015, healthier foods were chosen by 35 percent of Westerners for their holiday meals. This means that the holiday foods were primarily organic, free of antibiotic and hormone-treated animal products, had no artificial ingredients, and were largely low fat.

In comparison, only 26 percent of the Midwesterners specifically set out to choose healthier, better-for-you foods for holiday meals. 

The trends that CivicScience revealed through regional online polling reflects the overarching values and lifestyle preferences of Americans. Folks in the Midwest tend to be conservative, holding onto old-fashioned practices and beliefs, unless they are given a very good reason to change.  People living on the West Coast are all about change, as it is a consistent influence in their quotidian lives.  


 CivicScience. 8 Ways Consumers Holiday Shop Differently Across the U.S. NPD.