2018 holiday trends

5 Holiday Shopping Trends To Improve Your 2018 Strategy

Every business collects data – it’s because of this data collection that we know that for many businesses, the months of November and December can represent  29 percent of their total annual sales.

Aside from being really interesting, the value of data is how we learn from and leverage it to improve how and when we market to consumers. With 3 distinct generations making up the pool of American shoppers, all with wildly different shopping habits, the ability to make sense of what the data is telling us about these consumers is more important than ever.

Americans are spending more on holiday gifts with each passing year, meaning that the holidays are the perfect opportunity for your business to make this year your best ever. To do this, you need to come into Q4 with a solid strategy based on… you guessed it… last year’s data.

To get you started, I’ve rounded up 5 data-backed consumer trends from 2017 and detailed what you can do to leverage them for a record-breaking 2018.

5 Holiday Season Consumer Trends To Consider This Year

1. Shoppers Are Getting an Earlier Head Start on Gift Buying

In 2017, 16 percent of marketers planned to push holiday before October due to increased demand from shoppers, with a bigger expected percentage of marketers likely to prematurely accelerate holiday campaigns this year, as well. Being that more and more people are buying gifts early each year, it’s a wise (and profitable) marketing strategy to undertake.

So, to help boost your sales during this Holiday Season, consider running your holiday campaigns early to appease those eager buyers. Also, it’ll pay to keep an ear to the ground on Google Trends to understand how popular searches might influence your online sales. To hone in on certain demographics, consider “age-testing” or, if time is tight, use social media polls as a way to gauge product buying interests.

2. People Are More Likely to Buy Later in the Holiday Season Than Ever Before

Because of faster shipping options and the growing Ecommerce space, shoppers are buying later in the season. Millennial shoppers, specifically, usually complete their holiday shopping during or after Cyber Week, while older generations tend to do the bulk of their gift buying before the now famous e-holiday.

To help bolster and support last-minute shoppers, create deals on express shipping as the December holidays near. Offering quick, affordable shipping on your products will encourage those buyers to do business with you, as opposed to another brand that charges more for expedited shipping.

3. Holiday Shoppers Plan on Spending More in 2018 Than They Did in 2017

Like we said earlier: Americans are spending more money than ever on Holiday shopping. A survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that more than 80 percent of shoppers expect to spend at least as much as they did last year, with 26 percent of those respondents expecting to spend more.

Because of this, it’s imperative your products are all well stocked in anticipation for increased consumer spending. If they’re not, you could be missing out on countless sales opportunities.

4. People Are Increasingly Using Their Mobile Devices to Buy Products

Most of us these days don’t leave the house without our smartphones clenched in one hand or stowed somewhere in a pocket. This increased importance and dependency on our mobile devices—which includes smartphones, tablets, and other like-devices—has led to shoppers increasingly buying products through mobile apps.

AppsFlyer, a consumer mobile data analyst company, showed both domestic and UK consumers made 65 percent more purchases in shopping apps during last year’s Cyber Weekend when compared to 2016’s figures. Also, they found that businesses typically saw a 60 percent increase in “app-only customers” over that same time period as well.

To take full advantage of the ever-growing mobile space, make sure the app experience is as optimized as the desktop one. Ensure that your website’s UX design is friction-free for shoppers on small screens, and take into account how cross-channel and cross-device marketing plays into your sales.

5. Holiday Shoppers Appreciate Personalized Recommendations

Personalization has had a massive impact on the holiday shopping season in recent years. Despite the fact only a small percent of Cyber Week shoppers in 2017 visited a purchased brand’s product recommendation, those brand-recommended sales still made up a large chunk the sales garnered during that week. So, just imagine if those recommendations were actually catered to that shopper’s likings; sales figures would’ve gone through the proverbial roof.

By creating more customer-focused product pushes—which can be done by creating on-site recommendations, holiday-specific promos, and deals, or by sending out personalized newsletters that contain product suggestions—you can better improve sales numbers across your consumer line. This year, expect to see retailers begin making more impactful, niche-specific category pages, site search results, and personalized landing pages to help bolster sales.

A Little Holiday (Data) Inspiration

During the Holiday Season, every retailer, regardless of size, comes out ahead. While the average daily sales growth number rate for medium-to-large retailers can spike over two times that of smaller retailers, even boutique shops sport measurable gains in profit.

In other words, you don’t need a Holiday Miracle to knock 2018 profits out of the park — all you need is a well-planned, data-backed strategy. In addition to the aforementioned trends, take time to look through your company’s data from 2017. Find the trends and the anomalies and incorporate those insights into your holiday campaigns. Do this and you’ll be well on your way to a strong EOY profit for 2018.

Suggested Case Study: Click here to gain access to our panel discussion from this year's Elite Digital Summit, The 2019 Retail Marketing Playbook.

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