Holiday Shopping

Holiday Marketing Trends

jared lyons

BY Jared Lyons

December 20, 2018

Marketing

If you’re anything like me, you’re in a frantic rush to finish your holiday shopping (and giving thanks for two-day shipping). But, if you are in fact like me, you’re right on trend: more than 50 percent of Americans wait until the final days of the holiday shopping season to finish making their purchases.

A strong economy means optimistic consumers are spending even more this holiday season, shelling out about 5 percent more than last year. That means brands are competing even harder to grab our limited attention in crowded environments, while ensuring that attention converts into a quick sale.

As we enter the mad dash to the finish line, here are some of the biggest trends I’ve noticed this season.

It’s a Good Time to Be a Social Influencer
Forecasters predict marketers across the globe will spend more than $5 billion on influencer marketing in 2018. In the U.S., the busy holiday season means your social feeds are bound to be filled with sponsored content from your favorite accounts, pushing everything from DNA kits to booze, and from makeup to shoes.

Don’t expect those influencer dollars to shrivel up any time soon, because it’s working. Sponsored posts from influencers see more than twice as much engagement and secure more conversions than a brand’s owned posts. The trust and community built around their online personas give influencers a level of authenticity brands simply can’t recreate. Plus, an influencer’s carefully-curated following gives marketers access to a hyper-targeted audience, ensuring no dollars are wasted.

Based on their number of followers, influencers can make thousands of dollars for each sponsored post. So, as my Grisko colleagues already know, once my Instagram following takes off, I’m out of here (spoiler alert: I’ve got a long way to go).

Emotions Are Running High
While the news and current events this holiday season may not leave us feeling particularly merry or bright, advertisers are working overtime to fill the void. This year, we’re seeing brands tug at the heartstrings while they’re reaching for your wallet.

Apple is encouraging you to share your talents this holiday season (while barely highlighting Apple products at all). Toyota’s tear-jerker sees a military family reunited, gently reminding us not all families will be together at the holidays. And the Illinois Lottery is encouraging you to give the gift of possibilities in tenderly shared moments.

It remains to be seen if the emotional angle will pay off in the long run, but if you’re in need of a good cry right now, you can check out more of the season’s best ads here.

Mobile May Be Winning—But We’re Not Giving Up on Retail
It should come as no surprise shoppers are using their mobile devices more than desktop computers to complete their online shopping. In fact, 39 percent of us will make purchases from our mobile devices this season. In response, retailers are tailoring their online experience to cater to users on mobile, and ensuring checkout is quick and seamless to secure those impulse buys (see: Amazon’s one-click checkout and stored payment methods from third-party developers like Shopify).

But in the midst of this shifting preference toward online shopping, brands still haven’t given up on their brick-and-mortar stores. Even Amazon is opening physical locations in key markets. Retailers are luring in customers by offering exclusive experiences and offering free site-to-store shipping to bring in those shoppers who would otherwise be clicking from the couch.

The way we interact with brands and retailers is shifting, and brands are trying everything to connect with consumers and rise above the clutter. And speaking of retail, I need to find my mom the perfect gift that arrives within the week. Suggestions are welcome.

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jared lyons

BY Jared Lyons

December 20, 2018

Marketing