Seeing Santa in the Store Makes Holiday Shopping Better for 66% of U.S. Consumers; 76% Say In-Store Seasonal Music Enhances the Holiday Shopping Experience

No Slack for Retailers: 81% of Shoppers Are More Offended if Sales
Staff Are Rude During the Holiday Rush

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Seeing Santa in the store with children enhances the holiday shopping
experience for nearly seven out of ten (66%) U.S. shoppers, according to
LoyaltyOne nationwide survey research that provides timely data on the
consumer mindset.

The survey results also indicate that Santa’s in-store future is safe in
the hands of young millennials. Seventy-one percent of consumers age
18-24 said encountering Santa in the store enriches the holiday shopping
experience. That exceeds the 66% score for the general population (18-65
and over) and rivals the 65-and-over age group (72%) for the highest
score among all demographics surveyed. In all, 1,267 American consumers
completed the LoyaltyOne survey this month.

But Santa takes a back seat to another venerable holiday tradition when
it comes to putting cheer into the seasonal gift-buying excursion. No
less than 76% of all consumers said that hearing carols and other
holiday music in the store enhances their Yuletide shopping trip.

Shoppers’ good tidings and cheer, however, do not mean they’re willing
to cut retailers any slack when it comes to poor service. Just over
seven out of ten consumers (72%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with
the statement: I am more understanding if a salesperson is rude during
the busy holiday sales season.

In fact, 81% of consumers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement:
I am more offended if a sales person is rude at a time when he or she
should value my business.

“Pricing is important but it’s not everything. This research underscores
how critical it is for retailers to make the overall holiday shopping
experience memorable and delightful,” LoyaltyOne Vice President Dennis
Armbruster said. “These results are illuminating, I think, for retailers
who are unsure about the significance that consumers still attach to
traditional elements of the holiday shopping experience, such as Santa
and seasonal music,” he said.

“Additionally, this research should dispel any notion that a customer’s
encounter with a sales person is less of a high-risk touch point during
the holiday season hustle and bustle,” Armbruster said. “Retailers that
fail to address poor service during the holidays jeopardize customer
loyalty and risk significant revenue losses.”

Other highlights from this month’s survey of consumer attitudes reveal
differences in millennial sentiments versus the general public on
in-store holiday shopping:

  • At 78%, young millennials (18-24) scored higher than any other age
    group for appreciating in-store carols and seasonal music
  • 40% of young millennials and 31% of older millennials (25-34) said
    they had a poor shopping experience last year that ruined their
    holiday mood, versus 20% of the general population
  • Just 53% of young millennials said they disagreed or strongly
    disagreed with the statement: I am more understanding if a salesperson
    is rude during the holidays, compared to 72% of the general population
  • At 65%, older millennials were less patient with sales person rudeness
    than young millennials, but more patient than the general population
  • 42% of older millennials and 37% of young millennials said an
    encounter with a condescending sales person would prevent them from
    returning to a store for holiday shopping, versus 32% for the general

In other highlights from the in-store holiday shopping research:

  • Among the general population, 50% said an encounter with a sales
    person who took a “that’s not my department” attitude would prevent me
    from returning to a store, followed by 32% citing a condescending
    sales person, followed by 18% who said they would not return to a
    store after an encounter with a sales person who knew nothing about
    the item they were seeking
  • Nearly one in three consumers (29%) said that each holiday shopping
    season there is at least one store that loses their business due to a
    rude salesperson or poor service.

The LoyaltyOne survey results are based on an online survey in November
2015 of 1,267 American consumers. The margin of error is +/- 3% at the
90-95% confidence level.

About LoyaltyOne

LoyaltyOne is a global leader in the design and implementation of
coalition loyalty programs, customer analytics and loyalty services for
Fortune 1000 clients around the world. LoyaltyOne’s unparalleled track
record delivering sustained business performance improvement for clients
stems from its unique combination of hands-on practitioner experience
and continuous thought leadership. LoyaltyOne has over 20 years history
leveraging data-driven insights to develop and operate some of the
world’s most effective loyalty programs and customer-centric solutions.
These include the AIR MILES Reward Program, North America’s premier
coalition loyalty program; a majority stake in European-based
BrandLoyalty, one of the largest and most successful campaign-driven
loyalty marketers outside of the Americas; and a working partnership
with Latin America’s leading coalition program, dotz. LoyaltyOne is also
the owner of COLLOQUY, a group dedicated to research, publishing and
education for the global loyalty industry.


Tim Sansbury or Laura Arnold, 513-231-5115