The Biggest Holiday 2016 Retail Trends

by Sean Ogino |

The Biggest Holiday 2016 Retail Trends

We are heading towards the holiday season slowly but steadily, and markets are buzzing with the excitement. To really win this upcoming holiday season, it’s a must to know how and what customers are buying, what their preferences are, what sort of personalization and messaging they like, and more. Without further ado, here are our picks for the biggest holiday 2016 retail trends.

A) Arrival Of Single’s Day In America:

Single’s Day is an entertaining festival widespread among young Chinese people, to celebrate the fact that they are proud of being single. This day already been considered as one of the largest online shopping days 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 the total number of Chinese people living in America, more retailers will focus on Single’s Day, which falls on 11th November. Besides, it also opens up new opportunities for retailers to target a diverse market along with the expansion of international sales and Single’s Day is a perfect platform to do that.

Alibaba's Single's Day 2015 sales counter, courtesy of Forbes
Alibaba’s Single’s Day 2015 sales counter, courtesy of Forbes

B) Shopping Starts Earlier:

Though Black Friday and Cyber Monday have long been considered as the crowns of holiday sales, there are signs of a shift in holiday 2016 retail trends.  As per a Google/Ipsos Media CT study, shoppers are starting earlier. In 2014, 61% began gift research before Halloween and 48% completed shopping by Cyber Monday. It’s a reflection of a fragmented shopping behavior which is the outcome of digitalization. Now, people can browse the product categories and decide on a whim what to buy…but when to buy depends on multiple factors like needs, store vicinity, waiting for more discounts and sales. We can say that, in 2016, retailers will have to think about year-long strategies to capture more of those shopping moments.

Selfridges opened their Christmas 2016 shop on August 1. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Selfridges opened their Christmas 2016 shop on August 1. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

C) Social Commerce May Flourish:

Brands and well as social media platforms are under the pressure to find new ways of monetization. Though 2015 saw a push in social commerce efforts as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest promoted their respective “buy buttons” and some brands did experiments with social media buying activity, they didn’t yield a massive response which could have been noticed. This holiday season may change it. But its success will depend lot on how easily users in a social mindset can be converted to buyers, but brands (and the platforms that support them) are motivated to monetize these critical channels.

D) Mobile Mania:

4 in 5 smartphone holiday shoppers used their phone during spare moments or while doing other activities last year, and 43% of mobile shoppers in consumer electronics have purchased products on their phones while looking at those products in-store. Given stats like these, it’s not even a question whether mobile will hold a key in holiday 2016 retail trends. The question is how much impact it will exert on holiday shopping. Of course, we’re not just talking in terms of plain buying and selling activity. Mobile plays an important role in promoting your products and deals, and the “anywhere, anytime” shopping access that mobile guarantees affects the buying decision of customers in different ways. The following chart shows a relationship between phone-viewing and shopping decisions during the holiday season. statistics   With enhancements in mobile use due to apps, beacon technology, SMS, mPOS, and click-and-collect, an unprecedented rise in m-commerce will be one of the key holiday 2016 retail trends.

E) Omni-Channel Shopping Experiences:

The success of retailers during this holiday season will be tied up with the mechanism that focuses less on the transaction and more on the interaction.  Nearly 7 in 10 holiday shoppers say it’s important that a retailer offers multiple ways for customers to interact with it. Again, it is not just related to the core and cold buying experience across all the channel. It deals with uniform and unique brand promotion, communication and transaction experience across your website, social media page, emails and print material.

The wholeness of this approach goes beyond seasonal holiday shopping. It serves as an important raw material in building brand loyalty and great rapport with your customers, which ensures that your holiday shoppers will stick with you after the season is over. This is primarily because stores aren’t just places that sell products. They sell a customer experience too!

F) Technology Upsurge:

Many online businesses have grappled with a weak link of being not able to give customers a full view and feel of products that they sell. This holiday season may see technology doing its best to overcome this hurdle through experimentation with VR, which will move beyond gaming and into other territories such as virtual social gatherings, data visualizations and even entirely new ways to experience ecommerce, as stated by Brent Shroyer.

Wrapping It Up:

What customers want for this holiday season is very clear. They need seamless, simple, super-interactive ways to purchase what they want. But there is not one or a perfect way to do it. The answer lies in the customized combination of the above-mentioned trends that suit your business, product segments, and target customers such as customized referral programs or contests for Instagram just to name a few. Regardless of whatever strategies you devise, the common denominator will always be there–mobile.  It lets marketers be everywhere at every moment. It can become your lucky charm this holiday season!

[White Paper]
[White Paper]