Can you believe the festive season is already upon us? With Christmas (December 25), Boxing Day (December 26), and New Year’s Eve (December 31) just around the corner, people across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are getting ready to spend quality time with family and friends.
2022’s end-of-year celebrations offer marketers the ideal opportunity to get to know consumers better — and bag the festive season.
We’ve seen aggregated search interest for “New Year’s Day” and “Christmas” rise by 20% over the past two years. And additional search insights around these big moments suggest that holiday shoppers get into the festive spirit in four different ways. Here’s what you need to know about each:
1. They set the mood with celebratory decor
Holiday shoppers deck the halls with decor that reflects celebration. Search interest for “home decoration” rose by 25% in December versus November last year, with “table decoration” growing by 55%, and “wreath” increasing by 50%.
Interestingly, searches related to “Christmas lights” saw over 8X more interest than “artificial Christmas tree” in Saudi Arabia in the lead up to festivities last year, and 5X more in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).1
Shopping aside, consumers are also keen to make their own decorations. We saw year-on-year search interest for “Christmas decoration” increasing by 90% on YouTube.
2. They seek the perfect gifts
Gifting of all types sees a spike at this time of year, especially around Christmas. We saw a 140% rise in search interest across the region for “personalized gifts'' in December versus November last year, as well as a 45% increase for “perfect gift” and a 35% rise for “best gifts”. This suggests that regional shoppers are keen on quality when present buying.
People are also looking to get creative in the gifting category, with search interest for “DIY gifts” up by 35% on YouTube.
“Secret Santa” — when groups of friends or colleagues exchange gifts anonymously — saw a year-on-year search interest increase of 45%. And giving also extends to strangers. Search interest for “donation” rose by 45%.
While consumers are keen to shop for gifts at the end of the year, they’re still price-savvy. We saw a 55% year-on-year increase in search interest for “discounts” and 25% increase in search interest for “winter sale”.
Source: Google Trends, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Dec. 2021 vs. Nov. 2021; Google Trends, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Dec. 2020 vs. Dec. 2021.
3. They unleash their festive fashionistas
With calendars blocked and party planning in full swing, holiday shoppers prepare to look and feel great.
We saw a 3X year-on-year rise in search interest for “Christmas style” in December versus November last year. Additionally, there was an 85% rise for “Christmas outfit” and search interest for “hairdresser” spiked by 55%.
People turned to video for inspiration too, with an 85% jump for search interest around “best makeup” on YouTube.
But consumers aren’t just focused on glamming up. A 60% year-on-year increase in search interest for “Christmas sweater” and a 25% rise for “Christmas pajamas” suggests that people are also up for playful cosiness during the cooler season.
4. They plan quality time with their favourite people
Delicious food with family and friends is what makes the holiday season special, with a 40% year-on-year increase in search interest for “family food”.
People also turn to video for traditional cooking inspiration. Search interest for “turkey recipe” rose by 30% in December versus November last year on YouTube, with a more than 5X year-on-year increase for “Christmas cookie”.
But while people enjoy at-home indulging, they’re also keen on heading out. We witnessed a 35% rise in search interest for “restaurant near me”, and saw “fine dining” search interest climb by 2X around New Year’s Day.
Entertainment is also big during the holidays. We saw search interest for “family activities” increase by 35%, with “movies” up by 30%. “Christmas music” also rose, up 25% year-on-year.
With families gathered to make memories, photos are a must. Search interest for “family picture” increased by 80% in December versus November last year.
Source: Google Trends, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Dec. 2021 vs. Dec. 2020; Google Trends, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Dec. 2021 vs. Nov. 2021.
Tips to help marketers master the holiday season
- Use insights to inform your end-of-year marketing decisions. The insights page on Google Ads can help you stay on top of emerging trends related to your business, and identify if you’re keeping up with demand for trending products or services.
- Understand how other retailers are pricing the same items you sell so you can pivot your pricing strategy if needed. The price competitiveness report can offer you guidance as you’re pricing products and bidding on ads.
- Reach more people and serve them customised ads by linking feeds to App campaigns. This is best for brands with rich in-app content, so ensure your app is up to date with the latest product details, offers, and prices.
Discover insights on other seasonal moments with our Seasonal Calendar.