It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like… The Holiday Shopping Season
As decorations start to fill streets, we all feel the special atmosphere that accompanies the holidays. Consumers are thinking of gifts and festivities, while brands should already be gearing up to generate interest and meet customers where they’ll be looking to shop. By Dean Nagib, Commercial Director, UK at MiQ.
Traditionally, predicting demand during the busy holiday season is challenging. However, following last year’s events, this period might be even more daunting for retailers. Having valuable insights into how British consumers shop will help brands target the right audiences with the right channels, ensuring greater engagement and an advantage over competitors.
During the pandemic, individual budgets were impacted by economic volatility and pay cuts. Our research into holiday shopping found that 39% of UK workers within the £28,000 and £34,999 pay bracket saw a decline in their income.
The group that was most severely affected by the pandemic were self-employed Brits, as 60% witnessed a decline in their pay over the last year. As such, financial instability cast a shadow on already struggling retailers.
However, the outlook on holiday shopping is a lot merrier than expected. Consumers are ready to rebound and shop, with 50% planning to buy goods during the holidays. Those under the age of 45 are much more adamant about their plans; 65% of British consumers between 25 and 34, and 58% of those aged 35-44 declared intent to join the Christmas shopping fever.
With that said, an average customer is ready to spend around £305 during this year’s busy trading season, with male shoppers predicted to go slightly above this with £327 compared to their female counterparts who plan to spend £286 on average. Households with kids are likely to spend £70 more throughout the season than those without children.
These numbers not only indicate that British consumers have an appetite for holiday shopping but also signal a busy trading period for retailers.
Considering restrictions throughout lockdowns, it doesn’t come as a surprise that shoppers changed their behaviour and often considered alternate buying methods to physical shopping.
While 30% of consumers admitted they explored online shopping, this tendency was most notable among 18-24-year-olds (44%) and those aged 25-34 (31%).
However, these numbers do not mean consumers will ditch in-store shopping for good. This is particularly useful for brands offering essentials and beauty products, as 53% and 43% of respondents respectively declared their preference to buy these goods offline.
Many consumers also explored different brands over what they would normally buy. Experimenting with different retailers was particularly popular among consumers under 24, as 21% opted for alternate brands.
As buyers are being spoilt for choice and more open to experimenting with alternate behaviours, retailers need to step up their marketing efforts to generate interest and drive sales.
The Right Audience at the Right Place
Keeping in mind all the nuances between audiences, identifying the right consumer groups and placing products in front of their eyes will be vital during the holiday season.
Consumers are willing to shop for gifts and are likely to buy from different retailers, and so companies will try to gain competitive advantage where possible. Insight-led digital strategies can make a massive difference. With competitions growing across certain categories, marketers need to explore alternatives to achieve scale and keep up with expectations.
For instance, companies should be empowered to make conscious decisions on which channels are most efficient for specific groups, to be informed about holiday sales and promotions. In fact, 48% of those aged between 55 and 64 are most impressionable through promotional emails, while shoppers aged 24 and younger should be targeted with social adverts.
Once brands determine where and how their audiences are likely to shop, they can focus on achieving higher engagement. The widespread adoption of emerging channels such as game consoles, connected TV and audio will continue to impact marketing campaigns during the holiday season.
Reaching buyers through the right channels gives companies greater opportunities to develop integrated campaigns but also pose a challenge of building a truly omnichannel presence. While some of the elevated interest may have levelled off, these channels continue to be areas where marketers can achieve higher engagement and incremental reach.
To have a holistic marketing strategy during the busy trading period, marketers need to integrate siloed data from different sources, to create more reliable attribution models, better cross-platform targeting and align budgets with optimal outcomes. Working with a strategic partner that understands brand’s unique needs can help identify and activate omnichannel opportunities to deliver higher ROIs.