While social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest may be all the rage, the time-tested paper catalog still wields the most influence with shoppers, new research shows.
The study by customer experience solutions firm Baynote found that paper catalogs influenced twice as many consumers this past holiday shopping season than both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases. They also influenced 82 percent more in-store purchases and 43 percent more online purchases than Facebook.
"While it is important to embrace new forms of marketing, successful organizations recognize that all direct to consumer efforts are part of an omni-channel strategy to reach different consumer segments," said Dan Darnell, vice president of marketing for Baynote.
The research shows paper catalogs were most influential among consumers over the age of 45, while social platforms were most persuasive to younger shoppers between 25 and 34.
"Younger consumers may be more influenced by social and online purchases while older consumers will continue to use paper catalogs and buy in-store," Darnell said. "As the lines between these start to blur, making sure that all forms of marketing reinforce each other is key to creating a seamless experience across touch points."
The study revealed that digital marketing had nearly as large of an impact on in-store sales as it did online sales. Specifically, Twitter proved more influential for in-store purchases while Facebook and Pinterest made more of an impact on online sales.
"It's not really surprising that online marketing should influence what consumers do in the store," Darnell said. "Consumers are increasingly multidevice and multichannel as they browse and buy."
Based on this year's behaviors, tablets appear poised to quickly replace smartphones as the favorite tool among shoppers. The survey found that consumer preference for tablets was most pronounced when surfing websites in search of products to purchase, with 40 percent of tablet owners using their device for browsing, compared with just 29 percent of smartphone owners.
"As smaller, lighter tablets become more widely adopted by consumers, they will increasingly make their way into the omni-channel shopping experience," Darnell said. "Given this year's trends, tablets may be the dominant mobile shopping tool for consumers from their couch or in the store for the foreseeable future."
The study was based on surveys of 1,000 shoppers, all of which owned a smartphone; 55 percent owned tablets.