TD Bank announced that providing financing options for major purchases can be a key driver of sales for retailers, according to TD’s latest Retail Experience Index, a bi-annual survey that tracks purchasing habits, particularly when it comes to big-ticket items.
The survey polled around 1,000 Americans who made a major purchase in the last year, defined as spending $500 or more on a single item. It found that 70% of consumers are likely to make a large purchase in the next six months, and a third (31%) expect to spend more this holiday season than they did last year.
This anticipated spending creates opportunities for retailers with robust financing programs to capture market share. According to the findings, one in five (21%) consumers said they financed their most recent big purchase, and of this group, 92% said the retailer's financing program was an important factor in proceeding with the purchase.
Financing options influence purchasing decisions
The survey found that financing options are a significant consideration when shopping for a major purchase. Nearly half (46%) of consumers report they are more likely to purchase from retailers who offer a variety of financing options, such as installment loans, buy-now-pay-later solutions (BNPL) and store-branded credit cards. Another 78% said the ability to finance affected the amount they were willing to spend.
“Financing options are no longer viewed as a perk for shoppers when selecting a retailer for their next big purchase, but rather a key differentiator in where they buy these goods,” says Mike Rittler, Head of Retail Card Services at TD Bank. “As consumer preferences vary and evolve, it's important for retailers to not only offer financing, but a variety of options to meet their customers’ individual needs, and ultimately increase repeat business.”
With more options available than ever, consumers are taking advantage of both short and long-term financing:
- Nearly half (47%) of consumers said they have a store branded credit card. Of this group, millennials are most likely to carry three or more store cards and most frequently swipe those cards.
- Meanwhile, 23% have used a point-of-sale installment loan, and 63% of survey respondents said they would be more comfortable using an installment loan from a respected financial institution to finance their purchase.
Decking the halls
For consumers who anticipate increasing spending during the 2021 holiday season, more than a third (34%) expect to increase spending on updating and outfitting their house to host holiday festivities.
The survey also captured an overall surge in home improvement spending sparked by the pandemic. Home-based products made up a strong percentage of large purchases during the past year, with electronics and music equipment (43%), home appliances (39%), furniture (35%) and home improvement items (35%) as the top spending categories among consumers surveyed.
Pandemic keeps some shoppers online
It's well understood among retailers that maintaining a strong online presence is essential, and this became even more critical during the pandemic. Eighty-one percent of consumers shifted a portion or all of their shopping online during the pandemic, and 32% expect to do more of their shopping online moving forward.
Additionally, amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns, 44% of consumers report trying to minimize their time in stores, and about half (52%) said they would prefer to use contactless technologies to place and finance purchases, rather than speaking with a person.
“The shopping experience is evolving, and retailers are tasked with providing their customers with a fully integrated, cohesive experience that easily translates from online to store,” adds Rittler. "Many retailers have invested in contactless financing, virtual showrooms and robust online customer service to provide the most seamless and safe experience possible across channels."
Getting your website right
A retailer's website also plays an important role in the research phase by allowing shoppers to explore products and financing options, even if they ultimately purchase in-store.
The survey found that a third (31%) of consumers said the retailer's website was the biggest influence in their decision making for their last major purchase. This marked the first time the online channel overtook brick-and-mortar stores as most influential in this question's responses. And 41% said they prefer to browse and research products online and then purchase in-store to minimize time spent in retail locations.
With these findings, delivery time has become increasingly important as well. Ninety-one percent of consumers say that they're more likely to purchase from a retailer who can deliver more quickly.
“As retailers navigate ongoing supply chain challenges, they must anticipate customer demand and ensure their stock inventory is consistent with online offerings," said Rittler.
The full report can be found here: TD Bank's Retail Experience Index
Maru Public Opinion conducted a survey September 3-10, 2021, among 1001 randomly selected American adults (18+) who are Maru Springboard America online panelists and who made a major purchase in the past 12 months. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. A study synopsis and the detailed tables can be found at Maru Group Public Opinion US Polls.
About MARU Public Opinion
Maru Public Opinion is a division of the Maru Group, a professional services firm dedicated to improving its clients' business outcomes. It delivers its services through teams of sector-specific research consultants specializing in the use of Insight Community and Voice of Market technology.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9.6 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,100 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US and www.twitter.com/TDNews_US.
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit www.td.com/us.
Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Nicholas Ledoux