Uberall Study: "Near Me" Search Over The Holiday Shopping Season

By Florian Hubner, Founder & Co-CEO of Uberall

With the holiday shopping season now in its final stretch, there is no better time to examine the season’s trends as a whole. Front-and-center this year was "near me" search, which played a huge part in the customer journey this holiday season.

To get a better understanding of the "near me" preferences and behavior among holiday shoppers, we at Uberall recently surveyed more than 1,000 smartphone users across the US and UK.

Here’s a closer look at our findings.

More than three-quarters of shoppers have done a “near me” holiday search

Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research places before they shop. And these people are prioritizing proximity when doing so. Almost 80% (79%) of all shoppers say they’ve already used a "near me" search from their mobile device over the holiday season, or believe they will before the New Year.

In contrast, 21% have not done this type of search so far, and don’t anticipate doing so this holiday season. Broken down between US and UK shoppers, "near me" searches were more prevalent in the US. Over the holidays, 83% of US shoppers have searched "near me" while 75% did so in the UK.

30% of holiday shoppers left a review of a brick-and-mortar store online

Our study found that nearly one-third (30%) of shoppers have left a review of a brick-and-mortar store across sites -- such as Yelp, Facebook, Google, Foursquare, Instagram and more -- during the holiday season. Meanwhile, 71% of respondents have not. In the US, leaving a review online for a store or location was more common than in the UK. Among US holiday shoppers, one-third had left a review versus 26% in the UK.

We know from our previous research that only 45% of shoppers leave online customer reviews overall. A lack of reviews can easily be correlated with lost revenue meaning that companies must start investing in strategies that encourage customers to take the time leave online reviews.

Almost three-quarters do “near me” search for restaurants, half for nearby ATMs

During the holiday season, "near me" search is huge for QSR and fast-casual brands, as well as banks and credit unions. 71% of respondents said they were likely to conduct a "near me" search for the nearest restaurant (quick-service or fast-food) while out holiday shopping. Just 15% said they were unlikely to do a "near me" search, and 14% were unsure.

When asked how likely a shopper was to conduct a "near me" search for the nearest bank or ATM while holiday shopping, 51% said they were likely, while 34% were unlikely and 16% said they weren’t sure. In the US, holiday shoppers were more likely to conduct a "near me" search for restaurants (77%) than UK shoppers (66%). The US also led on "near me" searches for nearby banks or ATMs (54% versus 46%).

It’s important for these areas to understand why "near me" is so important. In order to acquire new customers, these places must improve their search ranking to be among the first results that location-focused consumers see.

80% of holiday shoppers will use phone to compare prices

When asked how shoppers will use their smartphones to help them shop during the holiday season, the top 5 responses globally were: Compare prices (80%), buy directly from the device (79%), research products (72%), check for store hours (71%) and search for coupons and deals (65%).

No matter how you slice it, mobile is the key to the holiday shopping season. From "near me" for brick-and-mortar to comparing prices, shoppers this time of year will rely heavily on their mobile devices to make their shopping experience easier as they finish their holiday shopping and well into 2019.

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