Hear From The Consumers: Build Your Holiday Marketing Based On Consumer Trends and Insights
Knock, Knock! It’s the Holiday season – The most wonderful time of the year filled with joy, celebration, gifts, traditions, and stories.
So, here I am, a true stickler for tradition, armed with an insightful scoop inspired by the joy of giving, ready to make your holiday celebration extra jolly!
Once upon a time, in the land of WFH, I found myself knee-deep in an ocean of data, reports, and whatnots, tasked with creating a holiday marketing guide that cuts through the noise.
Having braved the holiday season as a marketer as I sifted through the information overload, I came across two interesting facts: first, the ‘holiday rush’ is not reserved for shoppers alone; businesses feel it too.
Second, the infamous advice of “If you must know the truth, go directly to the source” works equally well in the field of marketing too (not just general life or detective shows!). As it suggests that the source is likely to have the most accurate and detailed knowledge about the topic and that going directly to them can provide a more reliable and well-rounded perspective.
That’s when I decided – it was time for me to step up and plunge into the primary source of all things marketing – the customers; to discover their interests, preferences, and challenges. So, I found myself on a mission (read self-appointed) to guide all the businesses and my fellow marketers all the way to creating a fruitful holiday strategy.
Thus, armed with my trusty laptop and fueled by caffeine and the main character’s energy (yes millennials can adapt too!) I went on to find and curate the most useful consumer trends that should grace every e-commerce business’s holiday plan checklist. The kind that doesn’t just fill your head but actually helps you stand out in the holiday market, winning not just your customers’ wallets but their hearts too.
Feeling a little awestruck? No? Is it all me? — or perhaps I’ve earned a spot on your list of favorite people?
No? Still all me? Oh well, a marketer can dream, anyway…
Curious to know what I found during my trip down the holiday lane?
A lot. But you just need to know the final output, in this case, a list of 11 consumer trends curated just for you and garnished with actionable and insightful advice from experts in a refreshingly straightforward manner (the holiday season is hectic enough without cryptic marketing advice).
As you read about these consumer trends, think about which ones resonate most with your brand. What unique approaches can you take to align with these consumer trends and captivate your audience?
Consumer Trends 1:
Holiday Spending to Remain Mostly Unaffected Amid Inflation
On November 2nd, 2023, the National Retail Federation shared a forecast that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November – December and will continue to grow over 2022 reaching somewhere between $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion.
McKinsey also reported that 79% of consumers are changing their shopping behaviors to trade down, but they are still determined to not compromise with their holiday spirit.
Echoing a similar sentiment, CNBC said, that according to Amazon, which didn’t disclose its actual sales, consumer spending has remained resilient so far this holiday shopping season despite sticky inflation and higher borrowing costs.
“The truth is, the holidays isn’t just a season for us; it’s a sentiment. That’s why even in the face of economic uncertainties and rising prices, consumers are demonstrating a willingness to adjust their spending patterns. They are willing to tighten their belts in other areas but are determined to maintain the magic of the season.” said Abhishek Srivastava, SEM Business Manager at Mastroke, expressing his opinion on the matter.
From Insight to Action
Marketers take note – The holiday spirit is recession-proof, but the tactics to capture it need to evolve. Discounts alone won’t cut it; your strategy needs to tap into the emotional value consumers place on festive traditions to make the most of the holiday season.
Leverage consumer data and analytics to personalize your holiday campaigns. Tailor your messaging, offers, and recommendations based on individual preferences and past behaviors.
Strategic Bundle Offers:
Go beyond conventional discounts by crafting strategic bundle offers. Combine related products or services that complement each other, providing added value to customers.
Leverage Influencer Collaborations:
Collaborate on holiday-themed content that resonates with their audience. Influencers can provide authentic endorsements, reaching a wider demographic and instilling trust in your brand.
Interactive Content Experiences:
Implement quizzes, polls, or augmented reality features in your campaigns. Interactive elements not only capture attention but also increase brand recall and customer engagement.
Consumer Trends 2:
Flexibility and Convenience Rules With ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’
Welcome to the era of instant gratification, where ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ has become the top preference of the modern shopper. According to Statista, in the 2022 holiday shopping season, 46% of global consumers preferred Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) in comparison to a quarter who opted for credit cards.
However, don’t be fooled – this isn’t just about convenience; it’s about the psychology of wanting it all and wanting it now. ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ isn’t just a payment option; it’s a psychological trigger.
According to Adobe, with the surge in online shopping, consumers increasingly desired greater payment flexibility, leading to an 88% increase in revenue for Buy Now Pay Later services. Moreover, in 2023, Buy Now, Pay Later usage is set to drive a record $17 billion in online spend, as consumers look for flexible ways to manage their budgets.
“The shift in the growing preferences for convenience and flexibility in everything from shopping to payment options tells you one thing: in the long run, it’ll do you good to understand the impulsive nature of today’s consumer and craft strategies that align with the need for instant satisfaction,” advised Prachi Bisht, Content Manager at Mastroke.
From Insight to Action
Nowadays, consumers crave immediate satisfaction, and traditional payment models no longer align with their expectations. So, make sure you utilize it to your advantage.
Integrate ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Options:
Incorporate BNPL options into your checkout process. Partner with reputable BNPL services to offer consumers flexible payment plans, reducing barriers to purchase.
Optimize for Mobile Transactions:
Ensure your website and payment processes are mobile-friendly to enhance the overall user experience.
Educate Consumers on BNPL Benefits:
Proactively educate your audience about the advantages of BNPL, such as interest-free periods and budget flexibility.
Leverage BNPL in Marketing Campaigns:
Feature BNPL prominently in your marketing messages. Highlight it as a convenient, budget-friendly option to attract and convert customers during the holiday season.
Consumer Trends 3:
Social Commerce As The New Shopping Destination
“Social media isn’t just a space for memes and cat videos anymore; it’s the new marketplace chosen by shoppers and adapted by brands. And it’s not a temporary trend, it’s here to stay for a long time for the very simple reason that the convenience being offered by these platforms is so high that consumers are scrolling, tapping, and shopping without leaving the app,” says Rajdeep Gadhavi, Social media strategist at Mastroke.
And it’s not just us. According to Forbes, 76% of social media users have purchased something they saw on social media. Another source reported that 61% of Gen Z and Millennials trust social media influencers they follow for product recommendations.
The conclusion is simple: your brand’s presence on social media is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. If your brand is not seamlessly integrated into the social media shopping experience, you’re missing out on a significant piece of the holiday spending pie.
From Insight to Action
Utilize these strategies to enhance your brand presence and create a seamless shopping journey for consumers, ultimately driving holiday sales.
Optimize Social Media Profiles:
Ensure your brand’s social media profiles are not just visually appealing but also optimized for seamless shopping experiences. Use features like Instagram Shopping or Facebook Shops to make your products easily discoverable and purchasable.
Leverage Influencer Collaborations:
Collaborate with influencers relevant to your industry and target audience. Influencers can authentically showcase your products. Their recommendations often hold significant weight in the eyes of social media users.
Implement Shoppable Posts:
Transform your feed into a virtual storefront where users can directly purchase showcased products. Simplifying the buying process increases the likelihood of impulsive purchases during the holiday season.
Engage in Social Commerce Advertising:
Allocate a portion of your advertising budget to social commerce ads. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer robust advertising solutions that allow you to target specific demographics, retarget previous website visitors, and showcase your products directly in users’ feeds.
Consumer Trend 4:
In the world of holiday shopping, the magic wand has shifted from Santa to your customer’s mobile device. Simply put, mobile is not just an option; it’s the primary channel. According to Statista, In 2023, mobile devices were responsible for the majority of revenue generated during the U.S. holiday sales season.
So, here’s the deal: If your website, ads, and user experience aren’t seamlessly mobile-friendly, you risk losing customers to competitors who’ve got that part figured out. It’s not about keeping up; it’s about leading with a mobile experience that makes shopping a breeze.
“From my perspective, catering to mobile users during the holiday season is more than just a good idea; it’s a necessity. Today’s consumers prefer the convenience of mobile shopping, and ensuring a seamless experience on their devices can make all the difference for your brand.” – says Vivek Sharma, Software Engineer at Mastroke
From Insight to Action
For a successful holiday shopping season, make sure your online space is mobile-ready.
Ensure Responsive Design:
Make sure your website and online platforms are designed responsively, adapting seamlessly to various devices.
Optimize Mobile Ads:
Tailor your advertisements specifically for mobile users, optimizing visuals and content for smaller screens.
Streamline Checkout Process:
Simplify the mobile purchasing journey. A complex checkout process can lead to abandoned carts.
Leverage Mobile Analytics:
Use analytics tools to understand mobile user behavior. Insights can guide ongoing optimization efforts.
Consumer Trends 5:
Amazon Reigning Supreme As Dominant Ecommerce Player
In the landscape of holiday shopping, Amazon isn’t just a competitor; it’s a shopping destination. In all honesty, it all boils down to the simple fact that consumers love the convenience, variety, and reliability that Amazon offers.
This statement was proved true once again this holiday season. BusinessWire reported that the company mentioned the period from Nov. 17 to Cyber Monday as its “biggest ever” holiday shopping event compared to the same 11-day stretch last year. They added that shoppers worldwide bought more than one billion items during the period.
“Brands all around need to remember that if you’re not selling on Amazon then you’re competing with Amazon. And if you’re not playing smart with how your brand should be positioned in the fierce marketplace, you’re not just missing sales; you’re missing the entire game.” – says Shrananda Raj Gautam, Sr. Content Marketer at Mastroke, specializing in Amazon client projects.
From Insight to Action
The only way to survive and thrive in the competitive holiday market is to adapt to your customer’s preferences.
Build Your Presence:
Establish and optimize your brand’s presence on Amazon. Leverage tools like Amazon Ads to enhance visibility and attract potential customers.
Optimize Product Descriptions:
Craft compelling and detailed product descriptions. Use relevant keywords. Highlight key features and benefits to stand out in the crowded Amazon marketplace.
Manage Customer Reviews:
Proactively manage and respond to customer reviews. Positive reviews build trust, and addressing concerns demonstrates excellent customer service.
Work on Competitive Pricing Strategy:
Stay competitive by regularly reviewing and adjusting your pricing strategy. Factor in shipping costs to provide transparent and competitive pricing.
Consumer Trends 6:
Seamless Shopping Experience: The Driving Force Behind Repeat Purchases
According to a consumer report by Narvar, 96% of consumers said they would return to companies that made returns and exchanges as seamless as possible. Another report from McKinsey cites that more than 90% of US consumers expect two- to three-day delivery as the baseline and 30% expect their orders delivered on the same day.
“In an era of instant everything, consumers have developed a taste for seamless shopping experiences. Free shipping is no longer enough; consumers want speed, reliability, and sometimes, a touch of luxury in their delivery options.” – says yours truly, Digital Marketing Expert at Mastroke (couldn’t resist quoting myself once atleast!)
And if your holiday strategy doesn’t prioritize a seamless experience, you might as well gift-wrap your customers and send them to the competitor brands that understand the value of providing a memorable experience.
From Insight to Action
Taking this increasing consumer preference into consideration, make sure not to underestimate the impact of the last mile – it’s not just a package; it’s a brand experience.
Improve Delivery Speed:
Prioritize efficient shipping methods to meet the growing demand for quick deliveries. Consider options like same-day or two-day shipping to exceed customer expectations.
Invest in Package Tracking:
Implement tracking systems that allow customers to monitor their orders in real-time. Proactive tracking updates contribute to a sense of transparency and reliability.
Offer Hassle-free Returns:
Streamline your return process to make it as hassle-free as possible. Clear return policies and easy-to-follow procedures can contribute significantly to customer satisfaction.
Personalize the Post-Purchase Experience:
Create personalized post-purchase experiences, such as thank-you emails, exclusive discounts, or personalized recommendations based on the customer’s purchase history. This not only adds a touch of luxury but also enhances customer loyalty.
Consumer Trends 7:
Beyond Buzzwords: The Power of Sustainable Choices
Sustainable and eco-friendly choices are not just buzzwords, they’re powerful influencers ruling the holiday shopping trends. According to Salesforce, 84% of shoppers buy with sustainability in mind.
On the same note, RetailDrive reported that 63% of shoppers are willing to research more to find brands that are fulfilling their climate ambitions, prioritizing items with eco-friendly packaging, and purchasing goods from local businesses to lessen the environmental impact.
“People now are looking beyond the price tag – they want to know if what they’re buying is good for the planet. So if your brand isn’t genuinely committed to being green, you’re going to lose a lot more than money.” – says Rupanksha Srivastava, Content Writer at Mastroke, emphasizing the shift towards sustainable choices.
From Insight to Action
Marketers and businesses need to keep in mind that sustainability is here to stay because it taps into the growing consciousness about environmental issues, providing consumers with an opportunity to make meaningful, ethical choices during a time traditionally associated with excess.
Educate Consumers on Sustainable Practices:
Take proactive steps to communicate your commitment to eco-friendly practices, from sourcing materials to manufacturing and packaging.
Highlight Sustainable Products:
Emphasize and showcase your sustainable product offerings with eco-friendly attributes to make it easier for environmentally conscious consumers to choose your brand.
Implement Green Packaging Solutions:
Whether it’s recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable, sustainable packaging aligns with the preferences of environmentally conscious shoppers.
Collaborate with Local Suppliers:
Forge partnerships with local suppliers and manufacturers to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation.
Consumer Trends 8:
Increasing Popularity of Virtual Experiences for Festive Celebrations
“In a world where being together can be tough, virtual hangouts are more than just a backup plan; they’re the way people make memories nowadays.” – says Aman Chaurasia, Sr. Graphic Web Designer at Mastroke.
Simply put, the holiday spirit isn’t tied to in-person parties alone; it’s alive and well online. Take Macy’s for example. Since 1977, it has hosted the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which has become a cherished tradition for holiday shoppers each season.
However, due to the pandemic, Macy’s adapted and evolved, launching a virtual parade in 2023. This adaptation expanded its reach, fostering a deeper and lasting bond with customers.
The lesson is simple: As modern-day brands, your job isn’t just selling things; it’s making virtual celebrations feel special.
From Insight to Action
Remember, in the digital age, being a part of your customers’ virtual celebrations is a unique way to leave a lasting impact and build strong brand connections.
Enhance Your Virtual Presence:
Whether it’s hosting virtual events, webinars, or interactive content, find innovative ways to connect with your customers online.
Leverage Social Media Platforms:
Engage your audience through live streams, interactive polls, and behind-the-scenes glimpses to create a sense of shared celebration.
Customize Virtual Offerings:
Consider limited-time virtual bundles, exclusive online discounts, or personalized virtual greeting cards to make your brand a part of the virtual festivities.
Foster Community Engagement:
Encourage user-generated content, host virtual contests, or create branded hashtags to enhance the collective experience for your audience.
Consumer Trends 9:
Personalization Is The Key to Everything
In a world inundated with mass-produced options, personalized experiences stand out and create a lasting impact. According to Salesforce analysis, personalized customer service, marketing promotions, and commerce experiences powered by AI will drive $194 billion in global online holiday spend.
This is understandable due to the fact that no matter the type of shopper, personalized experiences are always increasingly sought after by everyone, reflecting a desire for unique and meaningful interactions.
“Personalization works because it caters to the individuality of consumers, making them feel seen and valued. It taps into the emotional aspect of the holidays, allowing consumers to create special moments that resonate with their unique preferences.” – says Tanya Agarwal, Brand Strategist at Mastroke.
From Insight to Action
Remember, personalization is not just a trend; it’s a powerful tool for building customer loyalty and driving conversions in the competitive holiday market. You can utilize it with the help of the following strategies:
Leverage AI algorithms to analyze customer preferences and behavior. Provide personalized product recommendations and offers tailored to individual tastes.
Dynamic Email Campaigns:
Personalize subject lines, content, and offers based on customer behaviors, purchase history, and preferences to enhance engagement.
Interactive Shopping Experiences:
Develop interactive features on your website or app, such as quizzes or product configurators, to provide customers with personalized recommendations and a more engaging shopping journey.
Craft promotions and discounts that are personalized for specific customer segments. Whether it’s loyal customers, first-time buyers, or high-value shoppers, tailor your offers to match their preferences.
Consumer Trends 10:
Digital Is The Way To Go
The digital transformation continues to reshape holiday shopping habits, with an increasing emphasis on online experiences. For evidence, take a look at this stat from Hubspot stating that 96% of shoppers reported that they prefer watching explainer videos to learn more about a product, with 89% being swayed to make a purchase.
“Online marketing works well because it respects consumers’ time constraints and preferences, making the holiday season more manageable and enjoyable.” – says Abhishek Srivastava, Sr. Video Editor and Cinematographer at Mastroke.
In alignment with the fast-paced, modern lifestyle, consumers seek efficiency and ease, and online shopping provides just that. These Digital marketing strategies allow marketers to reach consumers where they are, offering a seamless and personalized online shopping experience.
From Insight to Action
With Salesforce predicting online holiday sales (between November and December) to reach a staggering $1.19 trillion worldwide this year, the convenience of online shopping is a trend that will continue to gain momentum.
Enhance Your Online Shop with User-Friendly Features:
- Prioritize mobile optimization to ensure a smooth shopping experience across devices.
- Implement intuitive navigation and search functions to help customers easily find what they’re looking for.
- Provide clear product descriptions, high-quality images, and 360-degree product views for better visualization.
- Enable customer reviews and testimonials to build trust and credibility.
Leverage the Power of Video Marketing:
- Create engaging and informative explainer videos that showcase product features and benefits.
- Utilize social media platforms to share product demos, customer testimonials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses.
- Consider incorporating live shopping events to interact with customers in real time and drive sales.
- Experiment with short-form video formats, such as TikTok and Instagram Reels, to capture attention and reach a wider audience.
Personalize the Online Shopping Experience:
- Utilize customer data to tailor product recommendations and marketing messages.
- Offer personalized discounts and promotions based on individual purchase history and preferences.
- Implement retargeting campaigns to remind customers of abandoned carts or items they’ve viewed previously.
- Provide real-time customer support through live chat or chatbots to address queries and resolve issues promptly.
Embrace Omnichannel Marketing Strategies:
- Integrate your online and offline channels to create a seamless customer experience.
- Utilize social media to drive traffic to your online store and physical locations.
- Offer in-store pickup and returns for online purchases to enhance convenience.
- Implement loyalty programs that reward customers for both online and offline purchases.
Consumer Trends 11:
Shoppers Are Looking to Fulfill Their Emotional Needs
During the holidays, consumers are not just looking for products; they are searching for authentic experiences and emotions. According to Stackla, 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
Ever wondered why consumers seem to gravitate toward certain holiday campaigns? It’s not just about the flashy lights or catchy jingles. These ads aren’t selling products or services; they’re selling emotions – nostalgia, joy, warmth, and familiarity, reminding consumers of cherished memories and the joy of holidays past.
“Understanding and catering to these emotional needs in your marketing strategy while maintaining authenticity can set you apart from the festive clutter. Campaigns that tap into these emotions can create a powerful resonance with consumers during this special time of the year.” – shares Kapil Sinha, Social Media Coordinator at Mastroke.
From Insight to Action
Craft Authentic Narratives:
Develop genuine and relatable stories in your holiday marketing campaigns. Authenticity builds trust and connection with consumers seeking meaningful experiences.
Evoke Nostalgia and Emotion:
Create content that resonates with the emotional themes of the holiday season. Whether it’s nostalgic visuals, heartwarming stories, or sentimental messages, aim to evoke a genuine emotional response.
Engage in Conversations, Not Just Sales:
Engage in conversations that go beyond product promotion, focusing on shared experiences, traditions, and the emotional aspects of the holiday season.
Highlight Brand Values and Traditions:
Whether it’s charitable initiatives, eco-friendly practices, or cultural celebrations, aligning with consumer values fosters emotional connections.
Embracing Analytics for Consumer Behavior Insight
In the age of big data, ignorance is not bliss – it’s bankruptcy. So, make sure to embrace the power of analytics to decipher the intricate patterns of consumer behavior. The numbers don’t lie, and they’re telling you a story that’s waiting to be translated into a captivating holiday campaign.
Invite Consumers to Take Center Stage in Your Holiday Strategy
This holiday season, don’t just market; create a narrative that resonates, captivates, and leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of your consumers. As marketers, your job isn’t just throwing things out there; it’s about creating moments and understanding what your customers love during the festive season.
As we dissect these consumer trends, it becomes evident that their effectiveness lies in their alignment with consumer values, emotions, and the evolving landscape of modern life.
Sustainable choices cater to increasing environmental consciousness, personalization taps into the desire for unique experiences, online shopping meets the demand for convenience, and nostalgia provides a comforting anchor in a rapidly changing world.
Before you go, I’ve compiled a list of questions for you to reflect on that will help you take a strategic and calculated approach to creating a holiday strategy that clicks with the customers.
- How do you currently prioritize customer needs and demands in your holiday marketing strategy?
- How do you plan to adjust your holiday marketing strategy to align with the changing preferences and behaviors of your target audience?
- How do you currently incorporate consumer voices and insights into your holiday marketing strategy?
- Which holiday consumer trends do you find most aligned with your brand, and how can you leverage them in your holiday narrative?
- In what ways can you enhance the personalization of your holiday campaigns to create a more individualized and meaningful experience for your customers?
- Are you effectively leveraging analytics and consumer behavior insights to fine-tune your holiday marketing strategies?
- What strategies do you have in place to make your brand stand out in a crowded holiday market, especially when competing with e-commerce giants?
- How can you optimize your online presence to not only showcase products but also engage and build a community with your audience during the holidays?
The Bottom Line
Holiday success isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy; it’s about staying in step with what your customers want. The key lies in acknowledging the diversity of your audience, embracing the reality of consumer behavior, and understanding the psychology that drives decisions.
Lastly, as the curtain falls on this narrative, remember that the true magic happens when you invite your consumers to take center stage in the holiday marketing strategy. Happy Holidays!
Until next time.