Infographic: What Customers Experience During Holiday Shopping


It can be stressful maintaining the ideal customer experience during the holidays. Some factors you may be able to control, but between holiday stress, and an overwhelming increase in customers at physical retail locations, it can be hard to understand what the average holiday shopper is going through.

Our friends at CTS Service Solutions recently performed a survey designed to find out how consumers feel about holiday shopping and to see what customers are actually experiencing during the holiday shopping season.

The Holiday Shopping Experience: Customer’s Viewpoint 2014 was conducted on November 24, 2014 and surveyed 450 male and females between the ages of 18-65 living in the United States. The survey revealed a number of things about the holiday shopping experience:

  • Other customers are a big source of unpleasantness. Some of the experiences reported in surprising numbers include observing customers screaming at retail employees, feeling unsafe in a crowd, and seeing other customers have disagreements with each other (small number but large considering what it is).
  • Retailers are leaving business on the table. From long lines to lack of assistance, many respondents reported walking away from a purchase due to one annoyance or another.
  • People have strong feelings about the holiday shopping season. We asked an open ended question: “What do you dislike most about holiday shopping?” The word cloud in the infographic below gives an idea of some of the major themes but does not capture how strongly some consumers feel about retailers who have staff work on the holidays and about the commercialization of the holiday season in general.

The infographic below captures a number of themes from the study. Two of the main takeaways relevant to retailers is how much opportunity there is to do better and the stark consequences of failing to execute during peak season.

In short, customers will walk away when the obstruction is too great, and if they have a bad experience, 46% of them will not come back — even after the holiday season is over.