Holiday retail trends: 5 ways to engage consumers during the festive season and into 2020

Zarina de Ruiter, Debadeep Bandyopadhyay / September 2019

It’s that time of year when wish lists are compiled, shopping missions multiply, and the world of retail goes into overdrive. Holiday shopping journeys get going as early as September and carry on after Christmas.1 So it’s not only the season to be jolly, but to prepare your online campaigns too. Let’s have a look at what seasonal trends2 we’re seeing on the horizon.

The search trends provide insights to help maximise the power of your seasonal campaigns. To predict how consumer habits might evolve in the coming months and into 2020, we compared search trends from the last quarter of 2018 to the same time period in the previous year.

According to the analysis, consumers across EMEA increasingly have their mind on two key things: convenience and cost savings. Here are five ways marketers can get in step with time-poor, purse-conscious shoppers to deliver just what they’re looking for in their seasonal moments of need.

1. Be clear

People want to know what days stores are open at this time of year. As time runs out for last-minute holiday purchases, consumers may shift from online browsing to visiting retailers in person. Not only are they fitting in trips to multiple stores, but many stores adjust their trading hours during the festive season, for instance extending their opening times on Sundays or closing early on Christmas Eve.

Action: Use ad extensions to allow shoppers to easily see the days and times that your physical store is open.


2. Be convenient

When people are rushing around trying to tackle their shopping list, they’re looking for help close to hand. As they hit the streets, many may turn to their mobile devices to create their itineraries as they go. Our analysis showed an upward surge in searches for nearby shops and amenities.

Action: Show local search ads on Google Maps to make it easy for customers to get directions to your nearest location and find out if they can make it there before you close for the day.


3. Be generous

Consumer searches for online offers, vouchers, and deals understandably increased around the holiday season last year – and we can expect the same thing for the 2019 holiday retail season. Many people have plenty of purchases to make and they’re trying to save wherever they can – not only on gifts but also on food and everyday essentials that can be ordered online.

Action: Use remarketing ads to display a photo of a product that shoppers have looked at on your site and then abandoned, along with your current discount offers and codes.


4. Be available

This time of year sees a rise in searches both in online shopping and for customer services. With more purchases being made and parcels being shipped, the chance of orders being delayed or going missing may increase. In turn, retailers’ call centres can see increased volumes of enquiries.

Actions: Help people make their gift-giving deadlines by offering an online chat option. Display estimated shipping times in marketing messages and consider adding a countdown within ads so shoppers don’t miss your shipping cut-off date.


5. Be smart

Within electronics, searches for wireless headphones went up in the final quarter of 2018 over the same period the year before. Whether intended as a gift or a personal upgrade, people use a range of terms to search for hands-free helpers. For instance, words like cord-free, cable-free, Bluetooth, and wireless are often used interchangeably, with variations across languages.

Action: This season offers a prime opportunity to overhaul search terms. Google Ads Keyword Planner uncovers relevant keywords and bid estimates so you can plan a savvier search campaign.


So while the days from now until the end of the year signal a time for shopping and celebration for many people, for advertisers and brands it’s a great time to revisit your marketing strategies. Provide helpful information, services, and support to consumers, and don’t miss the chance to play an important part in the season of giving.

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