Through the eyes of the vice president of ad marketing at Roku, there are particular ways to navigate the holiday season as a marketer. Learn what to watch out for and the techniques needed for a successful holiday season by continuing to read this article.
The holidays are an important time: The season showcases the buying trends that will define the year ahead. For CMOs, it is more important than ever to be there for customers. I’ve found that consumers are seeking value—products that surprise and delight, whether they’re large or small.
Here are three key trends to keep in mind for the season ahead.
Plan For Spending To Increase Amid Inflation
Spending is set to increase amid inflation. The Harris Poll 2022 Annual Holiday Consumer Shopping study, in partnership with Roku, surveyed a representative group of nearly 2,000 U.S. adults who planned to purchase gifts for the holiday season. This holiday season, the survey found that shoppers plan to spend an average of $993 on holiday gifts, a 6% increase from 2021 ($938). Also, according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse holiday forecast, retail sales (excluding automotive sales) are expected to increase 7.1% year over year this holiday season.
Once again, apparel was at the top of the list of most popular gifts in the Harris Poll survey; it has topped the list of most popular gifts for four years and counting. This year, however, apparel shares first place with gift cards, which are always a reliable backup gift and earned last year’s runner-up spot for top gift. Home goods, toys and tech stayed in their respective positions in the survey.
What does this mean for marketers? Marketers with products that are typically not top of mind for the holiday season should think of ways to get in front of their customers strategically and early. This could mean reaching them in new marketing channels and also well ahead of the busy shopping season around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Although spending is up this year, inflation is likely still top of mind for shoppers. This means marketers should be sure to clearly communicate the value of their products in their holiday messaging to sway shoppers.
Prepare For Saving Now And Shopping Earlier
According to the Harris Poll survey, more than half of holiday shoppers (56%) either started or will start saving earlier this year to prepare for the holiday season, including 70% of millennials. And a Bankrate survey reported that half of holiday shoppers plan to begin making purchases before Halloween this year. The Harris Poll found that 25% of customers began shopping in August or earlier, compared to the 17% who began Thanksgiving weekend (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday).
Marketers can get ahead of the early shopping trend even if consumers continue to shop earlier year after year. This means planning for holiday campaigns further in advance to reach these shoppers before they shop. As shoppers start earlier, advertising budgets should expand further up in the calendar year instead of during the traditional busy Black Friday/Cyber Monday time frame. The holidays are likely to be top of mind for consumers well before the season begins. Marketers should follow suit.
Lean Into New Technologies And Channels
New technologies continue to reshape shopping behavior. The Harris Poll survey found that evenings are the most popular time for online shopping; 40% shop between 6 and 11 p.m, while 25% shop in the morning (between 8 and 11 a.m.). Furthermore, the survey found that Americans, particularly younger consumers in Gen Z and millennial age groups, are spending less time on traditional TV and more time gaming, using social media and streaming.
Reaching target audiences where they spend most of their time is crucial. Understanding these changes in media consumption habits is necessary if marketers want to connect with their ideal audience. Marketers should do their research before trying to reach their audience. Lean into marketing channels where new customers may be instead of depending on traditional channels where ROI can be stagnant. For example, according to Nielsen, July 2022 marked the first time streaming surpassed both cable and broadcast viewing for share of U.S. TV viewing in a given month. Marketers should not overlook major TV consumption habits this holiday season.
For marketers heading into the holiday season, there’s still plenty to be merry about. But the time to reach customers is now. Brands can help maximize their return on ad spend by taking a targeted, full-funnel approach to reach their customers where they spend most of their time. Brands that focus on messaging value, upping advertising earlier in the season, and surprising their customers with streaming TV could be better positioned to win this holiday season.