It seems like the holidays sneak up quicker and quicker each year. While e-commerce businesses pull in 50-100% more revenue in the time between Black Friday and Christmas than the rest of the year, the holidays are still challenging in terms of keeping pace with the competition. Marketing campaigns and sales seem to stretch from October through January and there are more channels to advertise through than ever. Understanding of this year’s holiday retail trends is a key to getting ahead.
A) Say Goodbye to Cyber Monday and Hello to Cyber November :
Though Black Friday and Cyber Monday have long been considered pinnacles of the holiday sale season, this year’s holiday retail trends may see a shift. According to a Google/Ipsos Media CT study , shoppers are starting earlier. In 2014, 61% of shoppers began researching their gift purchases before Halloween and 48% completed shopping by Cyber Monday. Furthermore, Slice Intelligence has found that 50% of regular online shoppers skipped Cyber Weekend in 2016.
People start shopping much earlier and are looking out for deals all season long instead of focusing on the pinnacle sale days. Retailers need to adjust their advertising calendars and strategies to run promotions throughout the season. Focusing on just one weekend has become a thing of past. There are some advantages though. This trend might make it easier to manage logistics in terms of site traffic and product stock. But, it also may present a challenge in terms of communication. A longer sales season means customers will see more aggressive holiday advertising over a longer timeframe, which means they may start tuning out of earlier. Brands will need a better understanding of how their customers shop for their friends and family to tailor their holiday advertising strategy accordingly.
B) Flash Holiday Sales Will Not Be Flashy Anymore:
Over the years, flash sales have been popular fad strategies, especially during the holiday season. But this strategy will see a departure in this year’s holiday retail trends. According to the research by Retention Science, Black Friday shoppers of such flash sales churn 274% faster than other customers. Considering their inability to generate long-term value, it’s not surprising that brands are planning to stay away.
The major problem with flash sales is that retailers are just capitalizing on customers at the moment with “too good to be true” offers that have a strong sense of urgency. By doing so, they overlook the fact that the holiday shopping season should be used to nurture customers. With the longer shopping seasons, brands have the opportunity to build relationships with new customers and strengthen relationships with older customers. This not only increases their value during the season, but it also improves their overall relationships.
C) Arrival Of Single’s Day In America:
Singles’ Day is an entertaining festival widespread among young Chinese people, to celebrate the fact that they are proud of being single. This day has already been considered as the largest online shopping day in the world, with sales in Alibaba’s sites Tmall and Taobao at US$5.8 billion in 2013, US$9.3 billion in 2014, and over US$14.3 billion in 2015.
Considering that Chinese Americans comprised the largest Asian American population in the United States in 2015, this is too good an opportunity to miss out on. This year’s holiday season will see more retailers focusing on Single’s Day, which falls on 11th November. It represents new opportunities for retailers to target a more diverse market and expand into or strengthen international sales.
D) Craze For The “Best”:
Today, holiday shopping is more than just choosing between a red or white scarf at a local mall. Customers are overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of choices in brands and products. Just one example of product availability, Amazon sells roughly 225,000 different scarves. Once customers know what they want to buy, they filter their choices by searching for the “best” products. According to Google, searches related to “best” products have grown by more than 50% in the last year (May 2015 v May 2016). It’s not much of a leap to assume that this search trend will continue during this holiday season as customers shop for friends and family.
Tackling this holiday retail trends shouldn’t be too challenging, it just requires a little SEO work upfront. Work with your content team to develop content such as “Best Gifts For Parents” or “Give The Best Gift To Yourself In This Holiday Season”. This type of content will help you rank in those all too valuable search results and will help promote your products in a friendly and approachable way.
In the past, capitalizing on holiday trends was necessary for growth. But, today, it might just decide your survival in an extremely competitive holiday season. After all, Amazon alone captured 38% of the market following Cyber Weekend.