Marketing Trends To Be Aware Of Going Into The Holiday Season

Marketing Trends To Be Aware of Going into the Holiday Season

As the weather starts to cool, marketers prepare for the busiest time of the year. By the time consumers first start thinking about the gifts they’ll be buying for loved ones this holiday season, you want to be at the ready with holiday campaigns that put your products front and center and encourage prospects to buy.

To make sure you reach the right people in the right way to maximize sales this year, you should analyze the habits of holiday shoppers. A number of research studies have been conducted to understand how people shop at this time of year. Here’s the main information marketers need to know.

When Holiday Buyers Shop

Holiday Shopping Chart

One of the most time-sensitive things you need to know now is that holiday shoppers start thinking about their gift buying early. National Retail Federation found that 54% of consumers start doing research for their holiday shopping in October or earlier. That means you need to start your marketing for holiday gift shopping now if you haven’t already.

Most of those people won’t actually start making purchases until November or later, so be prepared for your campaigns not to see much ROI early on, but getting your products and offers in front of people during the research stage can pay off in conversions later.

But don’t stop there. Notably, 65% of consumers continue their holiday shopping into January, participating in what some retailers call Cyber Week 2. With so many people receiving gift cards, money, or gift items they want to exchange – you should anticipate a second wave of shoppers. And you may benefit from other retailers not prioritizing these shoppers.

According to Brian Wulfe, Founder and CEO at Effective Spend, “We’ve seen a 27% growth in sales from retailers year over year during this period and have been able to take advantage of this trend with customized ad copy around post-holiday deals, and by ensuring an aggressive strategy across all channels to take advantage of the larger market going dark during this period.”

How Holiday Buyers Shop

Gift Searching Chart

In addition to knowing when people shop, one of the most important parts of buyer behavior for marketers to understand is how they buy. To get your prospects from the point of awareness of your products to making the decision to buy, there are a number of data-backed trends to consider.

Holiday Increases Impulse Shopping

About 44% of shoppers make impulsive decisions when holiday shopping. If you put an attractive enough product or offer in front of them, they’re likely to make a snap decision right then and there. But a higher proportion of shoppers need more time. 66% do research before making a purchase of even around $50, and 89% spend time researching before any purchase of over $100. Your campaigns should take into account both types of behavior.

As you would expect, different demographics also demonstrate distinct buying behaviors during the holidays. Younger consumers are more likely to respond to ads on social media – Facebook for millennials and Generation X, and Instagram for Generation Z. Women are more likely to start doing their researching and buying in advance, while men often wait longer to do their holiday shopping. And men are more likely to stick with Amazon in their shopping, while women do more browsing at different big box stores and websites before deciding where to buy.

Consumers Continue To Embrace Mobile Shopping

It shouldn’t surprise any marketer at this point to hear that mobile will be important during this year’s holiday season. Over half of all conversions on Facebook during last year’s holiday season happened on mobile. And even the people who don’t turn to their mobile devices first when shopping often check their phones while browsing in store to price check items or pull up reviews.

Shift From Traditional to Omnichannel Consumerism

People don’t turn to one place for their shopping. The same consumer may do a portion of their shopping on Amazon on their phone, search Google on their desktop for some of it, and spend time browsing in big box stores for the rest. Some shoppers will even do research on their phones while browsing in the store.

Heavy Discount Pricing Will Continue

46% of shoppers say price is the biggest indicator in their decision to buy a product from a particular company; it handily beat out all other reasons provided in the survey.

At the end of the day, people don’t want to spend more than they have to, and they like deals. Consumers are expecting big discounts and specials – of consumers who say something swayed them to make a purchase they were on the fence about, 50% of them cited limited time offers as the thing that did it.

Shopping Factor Chart

Free shipping removes a big pain point of buying online. People love the convenience of it but hate the added cost. 93% of people say free shipping has been an incentive for them to buy more from a company in the past, and shipping costs are believed to be a cause of around half of all abandoned carts. In the era of Amazon Prime, many consumers expect shipping to be fast as well as free, and as you get closer to the holidays themselves, the fast part becomes increasingly important. 

Multiple Fulfillment Options Are The Norm

In a study performed by Facebook, mobile users listed having the option to order an item online and pick it up in the store as their #1 preference, behind options like free gifts or price matching. Many consumers today are doing their shopping on the go and if you can make it more convenient for them, it will help you get the sale. People like having options.

Consumers Are More Explorative

When they’ve made that purchase, you’ve succeeded in your main goal – but you’re not done. People are more likely to venture from their main brands and stores when shopping during the holidays than at most times of year and that gives you the opportunity to capture the attention and loyalty of a new audience.

A truly successful holiday season can lead to new customer relationships that last years. If you manage to reach your customers where they are, encourage them toward a conversion, and nurture the new relationships, your holiday marketing will pay off exponentially.


Source: CPC Strategy – The 2017 U.S. Holiday Shopping Forecast


Kristen Hicks