Consumer confidence to fuel holiday spending surge—and marketing showdown

by | Oct 4, 2018 | Public Relations

A majority of consumers believe the economy is doing better today than it was a year ago, and 75 percent say it will improve over the next year—and those strong consumer confidence metrics should translate at the cash register this holiday season, with new research revealing more than 80 percent of consumers plan to spend the same or more on gifts than they did in 2017.

But that good news for retailers also presents new challenges for brand and retail marketers

This year’s report from independent adtech provider OpenX, in partnership with The Harris Poll, also found that the way in which shoppers consume content, research products and ultimately make purchases will undergo significant change—highlighting the challenges brand marketers face reaching and engaging consumers in today’s highly fragmented media environment.

Consumers are spending their time on a variety of different devices, and specific highlights from the report include:

  • 55 percent of consumers are on their smartphones for at least three hours a day, and more than a third of millennials and one out of four parents spend 6+ hours on their smartphones daily.
  • 25 percent of consumers watch no live TV.
  • Millennials spend 5X more time on a mobile device than watching live TV.

Consumer confidence to fuel holiday spending surge—and marketing showdown

As content consumption habits shift further online and into mobile, shopping habits are shifting as well

It is therefore more important than ever to build omnichannel engagement programs that meet consumers where they are watching content, and where they are choosing to make their holiday purchases. With consumers taking greater control over when, how and where they shop, mobile and digital shopping have now reached parity with in-store shopping and consumers plan on spending nearly an identical amount in-store and online.

Millennials and individuals making more than $100k year both over index towards digital and plan to do more total shopping online than in a physical location, and millennials and parents are inclined to shop from their mobile devices, with both groups expecting to make about one-quarter of their purchases on mobile devices.

“Consumers are confident and plan to spend this holiday season,” said Dallas Lawrence, chief brand officer at OpenX, in a news release. “The big changes we see this year involves how shoppers consume content and how they plan to spend their holiday dollars. The shift away from traditional television content to mobile is fueling a strong surge in mobile holiday shopping this year. Whether it’s the 1 out of 4 consumers who now make mobile purchases weekly from bed at night or the 10 percent who are now using smart speakers to help research holiday purchases, consumers are shopping in new and unique ways, relying on mobile in particular, and advertisers that have developed smart omnichannel strategies to reach the always on shopper will have the happiest holiday returns.”

Consumer confidence to fuel holiday spending surge—and marketing showdown

The survey also highlighted changing consumer perceptions around key shopping events like Black Friday

Less than half of consumers believe Black Friday is the best day to get deals, and many consumers have strong negative associations with the day, with 60 percent finding it overwhelming. Most consumers say they plan to skip what has traditionally been the biggest shopping day of the year all together in 2018.

Consumer confidence to fuel holiday spending surge—and marketing showdown

The full study from OpenX and Harris contains additional info on topics like how much consumers are planning on spending this year, what items they are looking to buy, when people start planning their holiday shopping and more.

Download the full report here.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of OpenX from August 30 to September 6, 2018 among 2,021 adult holiday shoppers.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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