Home  › Marketing › Retail

5 Consumer Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore This Holiday Season

  |  August 13, 2012   |  Comments

What does a retail marketer need to do to ring the registers this holiday season? Part one in a six-part holiday series.

Let's be honest, for many retail marketers this holiday season is shaping up to be scarier than living without your iPhone for a week.

Last year, 62 percent of consumers said their holiday plans were affected by the economy. And we are certainly still on shaky ground. This is a year fraught with challenges that will affect consumer confidence, such as weak jobs forecasts and the ongoing debt crisis fallout abroad.

Despite the gloom and doom, retailers should remain optimistic about this holiday season. Research shows that the economy's imprint on consumer buying won't go deep enough to impact holiday shopping. In fact, for the past two years, holiday retail growth has been back to pre-recession levels, with 2011 sales peaking to $465 billion, up 4.13 percent from 2010.

So what does a retail marketer need to do to ring the registers this holiday season? Pay attention to emerging consumer trends and identify opportunities to move the revenue needle.

I recently authored a comprehensive white paper that reveals pervasive trends in consumer holiday shopping. The research included reviewing the spending habits of more than 8,500 consumers during the 2011 holiday season and was cross-referenced with data from over 500 digital holiday campaigns that ran during the fourth quarter of last year.

This series will focus on the top five consumer-spending trends that marketers can capitalize on to increase revenue this holiday season.

Trend No. 1: Consumers Are Shopping Smarter

Yes, retail marketers, there will be holiday buying this year. In fact, 10.2 percent of consumers with a budget in mind are planning to spend more this year compared to last (up from 6.5 percent in July 2011), according to BIGinsight, a consumer-centric research provider. In today's economy, consumers are more aggressively comparison shopping and conditioned to expect compelling offers, evidenced by the proliferation of deals websites like Gilt.com and the popularity of holiday "doorbusters."

Trend No. 2: The Holidays Are Getting Earlier Each Year

Although late November and December are considered the most critical time to advertise to holiday shoppers, 40 percent of consumer shopping activity begins before Halloween. There is a growing disconnect between when advertisers spend a majority of their dollars and when consumers shop. Starting advertising campaigns earlier in the season reaches the early-bird shopper and often means more competitive rates and less ad clutter.

Trend No. 3: It Will Be a Very Mobile Holiday

Smartphones and tablets have become our on-the-go tools to enhance the holiday shopping experience - from product research to searching store locations and directions. But it's important to note that tablet and smartphone behaviors are very different. Consumers mainly use smartphones as a utility device to aid in shopping, but choose to use tablets to make an actual purchase.

Trend No. 4: Thanksgiving Is Rising in the Ranks as a Key Shopping Day

More retailers are incentivizing shoppers to stop talking turkey and start shopping pre- or post-meal on Thanksgiving Day. And it's working. Approximately 28 million people put down the pumpkin pie to start their holiday shopping last Thanksgiving, boosting day-of sales to $28 million from $16 million in 2008.

Trend No. 5: Holiday Commerce Is Increasingly E-Commerce

Retailers are reaping the benefits of consumers' love of the selection, values, and convenience of online shopping, especially during the holidays. On average, people plan to do 36 percent of their holiday shopping online, the highest it's been in five years. Research into 500 digital holiday ad campaigns shows a sales lift of up to 650 percent when retailers run their ads during key shopping days.


ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!


Denise Zaraya

Denise Zaraya is the director of emerging products for ValueClick Media. Over her five-year tenure, she has successfully launched several products for the company including the Re:view Reporting Suite and Brand Optimization, helping customers to optimize campaigns in-flight based on brand lift data. Prior to joining ValueClick Media, Zaraya spent several years at DoubleClick running the $60 million agency sales team. Zaraya holds an advertising degree from Pennsylvania State University.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.




    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...