How to reach (and win) deal-seeking holiday shoppers this season

Emily Eberhard / November 2018

For those of us who follow shoppers the way bird-watchers scout a new breed of chickadee, the holidays are always an exciting time. This year we’re keeping an eye on the four types of holiday shoppers that we’ve identified: evergreen, early bird, deal seeker, and last-minute shoppers.

With Black Friday just around the corner, let’s shine a light on the deal seekers: who they are, how they shop, and the best ways to reach them this time of year.

Who are deal seekers?

Simply put, deal seekers love a bargain. It may not be their only motivation, but an irresistible deal is often what closes the sale. That’s why deal seekers are most active during the classic bargain weekend, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

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Many deal seekers are millennials, specifically millennial dads. These dads are in their late 20s and 30s, and 1 in 3 of them say they consolidate their holiday shopping around Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday weekend.1 Of the deal seekers who did most of their shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, nearly 70% said they decided to buy because the item was a good deal or on sale.2

How do deal seekers shop?

Because they’re driven by sales and savings, deal seekers tend to comparison shop and dive into research online. Again, millennial dads lead the way: 96% said they had done searches related to the items they were hunting for.3

And get this: a little more than half said they visit multiple websites before settling on what to buy and who to buy from.4 So be ready to capture these tireless browsers wherever they’re looking.

Deal seekers are also a mobile-heavy group: more than half use a mobile phone to shop even while they’re in a store.5 Overall, 6 in 10 of their online purchases are made with mobile.6

How do I reach deal seekers?

Make sure you’re ready on mobile, of course. But beyond that, try reaching deal seekers with these three tips:

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Don’t just focus on gifts. Surprisingly, deal seekers aren’t just looking for the best stocking stuffers for friends and family; they may be holding out on items they had been considering purchasing for a while, waiting for the right time to buy. In fact, two-thirds say they're shopping for themselves, even during the holidays.7 “I think all year of stuff I want to look for on Black Friday, both for me and my family, and for gifts,” one survey respondent said. “For sure if we are wanting something electronic, like a TV or game console, it’s worth it to wait for Black Friday.” So don’t undermine your message by talking only about gifts; focus on the value of the deal and let the deal seeker decide who they want to shop for.

Dads like add-ons. Those millennial dads we were talking about like to be offered quick shopping add-ons, like gift-wrapping, that make them look like they took the time to do it right. When holiday shopping online, millennial dads are nearly 3X more likely than average U.S. shoppers to think gift-wrapping options are very important, and they’re more than 2X more likely to think it’s very important to be able to add a personal note to a gift.8

Don’t forget efficiency. Deal seekers want the best deals, but they also want to cut to the chase. They consolidate their holiday shopping to this short window to help them find the best purchases for them — and do it quickly. Mobile searches related to “best Black Friday” have grown over 80% in the past two years.9 More than 60% of deal seekers say they research before they buy.10 Help them consolidate that research and shopping into the shortest possible window and you’ll do well.

Deal seekers aren’t rare birds; they’ll be everywhere this holiday season. By understanding who they are and what they’re looking for, you’ll be well positioned to reach them.

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