With Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day behind us, one highly-concentrated season of sales dates may be over. But as we progress through summer in the southern hemisphere, consumer buying behaviour signals that opportunity is still heating up for advertisers.
From Back to School to Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, the cadence of shopper moments isn’t slowing down. There are at least 10 important commerce occasions spanning early 2024, and they signal that shopper intent, particularly in key categories, is still strong.
This is welcome news for brands and retailers in uncertain times. Summer is synonymous with consumer spending as relaxation often extends to the loosening up of household budgets. Australians spend as much in summer as other seasons, with January to March being the second highest spending period of the year. Retail spend in summer (Dec 2022- Feb 2023) totalled more than $100 billion, which equates to 7% growth year-on-year.1
Especially in January, customer demand is high, and competition for customer attention tends to dip. This presents an opportunity for brands and retailers to capture demand outside of the peak holiday season at the end of the year. Allowing for stronger presence at a better value, the start of the year is an efficient and important time of year to have advertising in market.2
So don’t be tempted to coast through the season of sun, sand and holidays. In the face of any potentially challenging sales forecasts, a glimmer of optimism continues to shine through summer. By staying keenly focussed on efficiency and profitability in summer, you can get a jump on the year’s business objectives.
Here’s why the beginning of the year is just as important as the end, and how you can connect with shoppers and improve sales for a fast start to the 2024 retail marathon.
Stay connected with consumers on mobile
While summer can mean more time spent away from other screens, digital reach for advertisers remains strong as Australians stay connected on their mobile devices. In a holiday buying mindset, consumers have more free time to scroll, browse, research, watch videos, and purchase as they go.
In Australia, digital plays an important role in advertising strategy this time of year. While the average number of digital resources that shoppers use is high throughout the season - on average consumers used 4.5 in a 48 hour period - the number of digital resources increases significantly in the post-holiday period (Dec 26 to Jan 4) versus the month of December (Dec 1-25).3
Mobile traffic is slightly higher in summer months at 71% versus 68% for winter months on average.4 And with YouTube being the most preferred mobile app for watching videos,5 Australians are turning to YouTube to get the content they want, no matter where they are.
YouTube allows you to stay grounded in your business objectives and adaptive to changing metrics, formats and strategy throughout summer.
With strong viewership in summer, YouTube’s reach is as high as 94% among 18 to 54-year-old Australians.6 With this in mind, advertisers should continue using video as a key tool in their brand-building exercises, but also consider how full-funnel video solutions can help you reach your audiences in the moments, and locations, that matter.
YouTube reaches audiences at the right time and across multiple screens, which gives you flexibility to be present as viewing behaviour shifts. YouTube also allows you to stay grounded in your business objectives and adaptive to changing metrics, formats and strategy throughout summer.
Show up with key categories that shine in summer
In their summer state-of-mind, consumers are also getting organised for the new year ahead, meaning they’re researching and purchasing. From school supplies to outdoor activities and home improvement, consumer demand for some categories actually peaks in the summer months.
To help advertisers plan for a summer of spending, we’ve identified the categories and subcategories with the highest demand and opportunity for growth. Our analysis shows:
- Camping, home decor, furniture and consumer electronics usually see their highest search volume during summer.
- Apparel, footwear, beauty and home decor compared to previous summers, these categories saw the highest search growth in the 2023 summer season.
- Office supplies is expected to grow towards December and into January, with Back to School searches up 2.5 times in January 2023 as compared to January 2022.7
This means that it’s vital to show up with the right range of products across digital and physical channels, being visible wherever consumers are looking. When it comes to marketing for retailers, you have a huge opportunity to increase your products’ digital visibility. Make sure every SKU in your warehouse is discoverable online in order to draw consumers to both your website or app, and to your physical store. Plus, consider how your products show up on Search, making sure consumers can easily access the information they need to make a purchase decision.
Reach new audiences as Australia welcomes newcomers
Summer also means more international visitors are entering Australia, with arrivals spiking across December, January and February. The strongest month last summer, January 2023 welcomed 1.6 million arrivals, including 59,000 international students.8
Not only is this an opportunity to reach new audiences, but many in this group are likely to be early adopters.9 And, 63% of newcomers agree they are very open to trying new brands.10
To reach this valuable audience, advertisers should show up where they are. Google’s AI-powered ad solutions can help you find your most valuable customers, and generate the most relevant content for them – ensuring you show up at the right time, place, and frequency to drive confident purchase decisions.
Don’t let summer months slip away as a lost opportunity. It’s time to embrace these key advertising insights and seize the summer days ahead as consumers are still likely to splash out. The January through March period offers volume and media efficiency, driving significant sales increases across Google Search and YouTube. So don’t cool down just yet – now’s the time to start making quick progress towards your 2024 objectives.