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What to Expect this Holiday Season

2020 has not been like other years in our recent memory, and that has caused - among many other things - huge headaches for marketers building advertising plans. The holiday season is a key marketing opportunity for brands of all kinds, and to get an edge, we can usually look at past years to help forecast consumer behavior for the current year.

This holiday season is in uncharted territory, though, for a myriad of reasons. So here are a few holiday trends for 2020 backed up not by last year’s experiences, but by what the consumers themselves are saying this year. These insights might help you design your creative and build your media plans with a little more confidence.

1. Holiday Budgets

The coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession that came about as a result have created a lot of anxiety and financial instability for many consumers. According to Deloitte’s 2020 holiday retail survey, one in three shoppers are in a worse financial position than they were last year, and as a result, two out of five holiday shoppers expect to spend less this year. Lower-income consumers have been the most affected.

You know what this means? Deals, deals, deals! Shoppers will be much more cautious this year and will definitely be doing their research to make sure they are not overspending.

2. Buyer Personas

The times, they are a changin’. 55% of consumers told Criteo that they believed the crisis was a good opportunity to make lifestyle changes. Specifically, they’re staying a lot closer to home:

  • 52% of consumers are cooking at home more

  • 50% are spending more time at home

  • 36% are exercising at home now

  • 26% are working from home

  • 25% are gardening now

New behaviors create new buyer personas like the home exerciser, the home schooler, the home office worker and even the home cook. Sure, people have been doing these things for awhile, but the kinds of people doing them have changed this year.

3. eCommerce

2020 has been quite the year for eCommerce. As Deloitte reports, 51% of consumers are anxious about shopping in-store during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led many shoppers to online stores and apps. Criteo found that online sales were 30% higher in the Americas during the two weeks from June 15th-June 28th, compared to a pre-pandemic average from February 2nd-February 14th. And we can definitely expect online holiday shopping to be busier than mid-June shopping.

As consumers are already online looking for deals, make sure your ad campaigns are getting in front of them where they are. Also, don’t be afraid to be early to the party; Black Friday is not the pinnacle of holiday sales anymore, and the earlier you start nurturing leads, the better off you’ll be.

4. The Ward Group

Now is not the time to rely on old conceptions of your advertising and media plans. The 2020 holiday season calls for a novel methodology, and our media stewards are here to help you through the holidays and beyond to 2021. Our holistic approach to media planning and buying considers the entire media ecosystem to ensure we’re making the best use of your ad budget. After all, consumers aren’t the only ones working on a budget this year. To get started, contact The Ward Group today.

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