Marketers need to be ‘always-on’ for holiday shopping
Research from Gartner suggests consumers will not confine holiday shopping to the holiday season.
In 2022, consumers will not concentrate their holiday shopping activities around big November dates like Black Friday and Cyber Week. That’s the key takeaway from research conducted by Gartner, which also underlines consumer concerns about inflation and disposable cash.
Gartner’s survey of around 300 consumers samples a much smaller group than the Emodo survey that recently reported that financial concerns have surged more than 150% YoY. But Gartner has some actionable advice for marketers: “Take an always-on approach to holiday shopping strategy.”
Not just inflationary pressures. Inflation is top of mind for consumers as we head towards the holidays, but that’s not the only source of anxiety. After experiencing the supply chain problems of 2021, many consumers continue to worry about in-store inventory and timely delivery. Also, many consumers (75%) are expecting to see fewer, or the same, discounts as last year.
Taken together, these factors mean that around a third (32%) of consumers plan to shop before November. 21% said they would be shopping in October, compared with 27% in November (Black Friday and Cyber Monday are scheduled for November 25 and November 29, respectively).
Growth in summer sales like Amazon Prime is also drawing attention away from the traditional holiday shopping period.
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How marketers should respond. With so many consumers planning to begin their holiday shopping in early fall, marketers should increasingly move toward promoting holiday shopping year round.
“While consumers have increased their discretionary spending in the past few years, inflationary pressure is impacting their spending plans for this holiday season. This hesitancy around budgets, coupled with new timing from consumers regarding their holiday shopping, will challenge marketers to have an always-on approach that will stress the need for omnichannel adoption.”Kassi Socha, director analyst, Gartner Marketing Practice
What does this mean in practice? Gartner suggests:
- Marketers should create an omnichannel “gifting” category, available as a destination year round. Best Buy and Macy’s have already moved in this direction.
- Highlight not just price and value, but also free or discounted shipping.
- Consider developing digital “wish list” capabilities, allowing consumers to post lists of past purchases to guide future giving. 35% of consumers get inspiration from family and friends’ wish lists.
Why we care. We’re seeing consistent reporting that 2022 is not going to be a record-breaking holiday shopping season. It may be late in the day already to switch strategies, but the advice Gartner is giving now is intended to be valid year round.
At the same time, who would be bold enough to guess how matters will stand with the supply chain and inflation a year from now?