The holiday-shopping journey continues to evolve, and retailers must not only keep up, but stay one step ahead of ever-demanding consumers.
Communicators can ring in the biggest shopping season of the year with a deep dive into when, where and how consumers plan to do their holiday shopping—and what retailers can do to win—with the newly released the 2017 Holiday Retail Trends and Guide from digital savings destination RetailMeNot.
Consumers can’t wait for holiday shopping
The survey data revealed 45 percent of Americans plan to start shopping before November 1. Retailers are capitalizing on this earlier start: Nearly 80 percent indicated they will begin holiday marketing efforts earlier this year.
With “Christmas creep” comes the opportunity to cash in on more savings: 81 percent of consumers use up to six channels to find the best holiday deals and promotions. These include email, desktop search engines, savings apps, mobile web searches, newspapers and recommendations from friends and family.
“For retailers, an earlier start to the shopping season means a greater opportunity to land in consumers’ consideration set ahead of the competition,” said Marissa Tarleton, CMO at RetailMeNot, in a news release. “As consumers approach shopping through many channels, retailers should match their journey with nimble content and smooth experiences.”
Longer season, better promotions
Echoing the trend observed in 2016, RetailMeNot expects Black Friday deals to start well in advance of Thanksgiving Day, and last beyond Cyber Monday. In fact, the holiday shopping weekend of Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday will likely now expand into two full weeks of deals.
Additional data suggests Cyber Monday is becoming just as important as Black Friday as it gains popularity amongst consumers: 56 percent of consumers said they plan to shop Cyber Monday deals in 2017, vs. just 39 percent in 2016.
“With the expanded shopping season this year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer single-focus days. It’s now a two-week-long promotional opportunity,” said Tarleton. “Not only are these two days as important as ever, retailers must consider how to win the two-week period.”
This year’s holiday season also gives shoppers an extra Saturday before Christmas Eve—meaning the deals will keep coming, especially for last-minute gifts in-store. In fact, 4 in 10 retailers are setting aside more than a quarter of their overall holiday marketing budget for last-minute promotional activity.
RetailMeNot recommends retailers plan to trigger special “pulses” of savings for maximum ROI. On average, RetailMeNot data shows the ideal promotional length to be about three days—and this data shows a 3x conversion lift when retailers combine short pulse promotions with longer, evergreen promotional content.
‘Tis the season to spend
Americans plan to spend an average of $743 holiday shopping during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend, up 47 percent from last year’s average of $505. These shoppers are likely to be in stores early as well, with nearly half saying they’re willing to wake up early for a good deal.
With 70 percent of consumers surveyed indicating they’re planning to shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers should prepare now to diversify their content and deals to catch attention over the longer period of time.
Though e-commerce and m-commerce will continue to grow this year, retailers will benefit from a strong omnichannel promotional strategy that draws shoppers into brick and mortar locations, where most retail sales still take place.
This data is based on findings from internal data collections from over 500,000 offers for 50,000 retailers, including engagement insights from millions of consumers. Forecasting models for 2017 predictions are based on data and stats pulled from historical shopper insights in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, two surveys from RetailMeNot, Inc. gathered consumer sentiment and shopping preferences for the 2017 holiday shopping season. A Google Consumer Survey was conducted between July 31 and August 1, 2017, in which 1,015 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over were surveyed regarding their holiday spending and preferences.