5 steps to help marketers get ahead this Christmas holiday season

Though stores are still packed in December, more and more consumers are completing seasonal shopping before the first decorations appear. Here are five steps to help every marketer get ahead of the surge by taking a more holistic view of the holiday shopping season; the period from the first Christmas advert through to the new year.

1. Start your campaign as soon as possible

New data shows the window of influence on Christmas present decisions is open for most of the year. In fact, 38% of Christmas shopping is completed before Black Friday week even begins1 – and 11% of shoppers beginning their planning before summer.2

A contributing factor is the rise in online retail, making Christmas shopping much easier to research and plan ahead of time. Kick off your holiday season campaign as soon as possible, to make the most of ultra-organised planners.

2. Help shoppers while they’re planning their purchases

83% of holiday season shoppers start thinking about their purchases two weeks or more before they make them.3 This means that many of the people searching for your product — or its competitors — are likely to be researching for long enough to change their minds, especially if something better comes along.

Make it easy for shoppers to find information about your products on Search, whatever stage of the purchase journey they’re in, and keep yourself front-of-mind during every decision.

3. Make Black Friday matter to U.K. customers

While Black Friday is still building momentum for U.K. consumers compared to other markets, its effects are not insignificant. In the U.K., only 8% of holiday season shoppers do most of their shopping on the day itself (compared to 18% in the U.S.).4 However, price and promotion have a greater impact on shopping decisions during Black Friday week (42% vs. 37% total).5

This means it’s up to marketers, retailers and brands to make Black Friday really matter. As brands and retailers announce Black Friday deals increasingly further ahead of the day itself, get news of your upcoming deals out early to help build buzz.

4. Make late-season shopping less stressful with a strong omnichannel strategy

Consumers continue to shop heavily – both online and in-store – during Christmas week. In-store conversions reach a season high of 57% compared to 45% during Dec 13-19.6 On the other hand, 43% of Christmas week purchases are made online, with nearly half (47%) made using a smartphone.

Take some of the stress out of late-season shopping with an omnichannel campaign that gives shoppers the price and promotion information they need, wherever they’re looking.

5. Continue your campaign past Christmas Day

In the days and weeks after Christmas, people increasingly buy for loved ones – and for themselves. 87% of shoppers search digitally for Christmas-related shopping after Christmas week.7 Mobile searches for these queries increase from 55 to 63%8 overall, with use in-store increasing from 34% to 44%.9 App use jumps from 54% to 61% as a result, with retailer app use in particular increasing (from 39% to 45%).10

Another clear trend is people treating themselves. The rate of people buying gifts for themselves rises from 42% to 48%,11 and sales deals are cited most often as the reason a pre-planned purchase has been held off until after Christmas.12

For brands, post-Christmas is the perfect time to focus on messaging around shoppers treating themselves as well as promoting sales deals. Creating separate campaigns for these distinct behaviours can help a post-holiday sales spike.

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