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Dec 18 2011

Many Americans Turn to Digital Devices to Stretch their Dollars This Holiday Shopping Season, New SapientNitro Survey Reveals


BOSTON – DECEMBER 19, 2011 – Findings from a just-released national survey, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications in conjunction with SapientNitro, part of Sapient (NASDAQ: SAPE), show that Americans are increasingly empowered by digital devices to bargain hunt for gifts this holiday season. 

Four in ten Americans with a smart phone (38%) agree that “in this economy, my smart phone has empowered me to find the best deals while shopping this holiday season.” This is particularly true of iPad and other tablet owners, where a majority (56%) agree with that statement.  When it came to 18-24 year olds as a whole, nearly 2 in 3 (64%) express they feel “empowered” in the same way.

Said one respondent: “Using digital devices makes it easier and makes me feel like I’m in control of the prices.  I get better deals and better prices, and it’s enjoyable.”

In fact, 39% of all Americans agree that their use of digital devices has “enriched” their shopping experience so far this holiday season. Nearly half of 18-24 year olds (47%) agree. One respondent noted: “It was less confusing, so you don’t have to have [all] the papers with you—the ads are right there on your phone. That was wonderful.”

“As the use of digital devices moves more and more to the forefront of Americans’ shopping behavior, the ease of findings deals with them – whether through research, social media, deal sites, and the like – has eased the pressures of gift giving in this down economy,” said Chris Davey, global head of commerce at SapientNitro. “This empowerment comes at the right time given that many Americans – 44% -- plan to spend less on holiday shopping this year than they did last year.”

Overall, use of digital media for holiday shopping is up from the 2010 post-Thanksgiving holiday season, the SapientNitro survey reveals. For example, those with digital devices are more likely to report using one to:
•    Browse for products (67%, up from 44% in 2010)
•    Research products (67%, up from 48%)
•    Compare prices at other retailers (60%, up from 40%)
•    Look for discounts or deals (48%, up from 35%)

Many also used e-mails from vendors offering deals (39%), consumer ratings on sites like Yelp or Amazon (34%), or the increasingly popular daily deal sites like Groupon or Living Social (17%) to help them decide on a particular gift.

Not all holiday shopping is done for others, however. Geoff Feinberg, vice president at GfK Roper notes, “About half of online holiday shoppers say they picked up something for themselves this holiday season, lending credence to the notion that ‘self-giving’ is alive and well in 2011.”

Areas to Watch
SapientNitro has identified a number of consumer trends to watch over the next few holiday seasons. According to the survey, among consumers who have smartphones:
•    31% used their GPS/location feature on their phone to help with holiday shopping
•    30% used a mobile app to search for or purchase a product this holiday season
•    20% looked or posted something on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks to find or ask for advice on holiday gift buying
•    18% used a mobile coupon at point-of-purchase
•    19% used a QR code to find more information about a product

Among tablet owners:
•    42% used a mobile app to search for or purchase a product this holiday season
•    41% scanned a QR code or barcode to get more information about it (compared to 19% for smartphone owners)

“One area we’re watching with interest is GPS-enabled mobile computing, particularly among the savvy tablet owner,” says Davey. “Imagine the day when you walk into a store and the retailer already knows something about you based on location-aware services. The implications for retailers – in terms of targeted promotions or in-store navigation – are fascinating.”

How the survey was conducted
The second annual SapientNitro-GfK Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted December 9 - 11, 2011, by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications – a division of GfK Custom Research North America on behalf of Sapient. This telephone survey is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,000 general population adults age 18 or older reached on landline telephones.

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples.

Note to journalists: raw survey data and infographics available upon request.

About GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media

GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, a division of GfK Custom Research North America (, is one of the most trusted names in public opinion and marketing research. The Roper legacy dates back to 1933 and today is known for its work in public relations, brand building, consumer advocacy, social policy and corporate communications, serving clients across sectors and around the world. Whether it's a Fortune 500 corporation or a non-profit organization, a major media company or an online start-up, a university, think-tank or public relations firm, a local government or private philanthropy, GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications delivers intelligence vital to their strategic objectives.  GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group.

About SapientNitro

SapientNitroSM, part of Sapient®, is an integrated marketing and technology services firm. We create and engineer highly relevant experiences that accelerate business growth and fuel brand advocacy for our clients. By combining multi-channel marketing, multi-channel commerce, and the technology that binds them, we influence customer behavior across the spectrum of content, communication and commerce channels, resulting in deeper, more meaningful relationships between customers and brands. SapientNitro services global leaders such as Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Foot Locker, Singapore Airlines, Target, and Vodafone through our operations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @sapientnitro.

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Sapient is a registered service mark of Sapient Corporation.


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