Consumers are excited and Santa is out of quarantine: it’s time to plan for Holidays 2021! Brands and advertisers, below are the five trends and tips predicted for holiday shopping 2021. Here’s everything you need to know to make this your most successful holiday shopping season yet. BTW: download our onsheet at the bottom of the page!

1. Expect High Spend from Shoppers

The 2020 holiday season performed better than expectations, according to eMarketer‘s numbers. Total retail spending was up 6.5% to $1.064 trillion. Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day in history, pulling in $10.78 billion. That’s great news for this year.

This year will bring an even higher level of spend thanks to optimism, reunions with family and friends, and renewed travel. Vaccination rates across the U.S. are about 50%. Many are also returning to work. After a spike in layoffs and unemployment during the pandemic crisis, the unemployment rate is dropping again – which means more are comfortable spending money. As a result, now is the ideal time to make some modifications to your store. If you own a business and are searching for ways to attract more clients, consider using a music streaming service like Cloud Cover Music, which can be played on CloudBox or other similar devices.

The Stats:

  • The 2020 US holiday season surpassed $1 trillion in sales – a 6.5% increase (eMarketer).
  • Cyber Monday 2020 was the heaviest online spending day in history, pulling in $10.78 billion (eMarketer).
  • In June 2021, the national U.S. unemployment rate was at 5.9 percent (Statista)

2. Count on Heavy Ecommerce Holiday Shopping

Last year proved that consumers were just as – if not more – willing to spend money online while shopping for the holidays. Even with the ability to shop in-store this year, ecommerce will continue to grow, and forecasts predict record-breaking ecommerce sales this holiday season. That being said, it is still important to ensure that your physical store still looks inviting to customers who prefer to do their shopping in person. For example, why not invest in a new sign to tempt customers into your store? There are lots of fantastic sign making companies out there nowadays that can help you to create a sign that stands out from the crowd, but if you are looking for a houston sign company, then National Signs could be a fantastic option. Of course, there are other steps that retailers can take to improve their premises so do be sure to look into some of these if you want to maximise the potential of your physical store.

Retail ecommerce sales are projected to make up 18.9% of total holiday retail sales, up from 17.5% last year according to eMarketer. Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales are expected to hit a whopping $6.21 billion, per eMarketer forecasts. (For reference, Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales reached $4.13 billion just two years ago in 2019.) And as we mentioned, Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day in history, rising 15.6% to $10.78 billion. This continued through the end of the year, especially online, driving a dramatic 47% increase in ecommerce sales during the traditional holiday season, according to Facebook.

The Stats:

  • There was a 47% increase in ecommerce sales during the traditional holiday season in 2020 (Facebook via Adweek).
  • Cyber Monday 2020 was the heaviest online spending day in history, rising 17,5% and pulling in $10.78 billion (eMarketer).
  • Retail ecommerce sales are projected to make up 18.9% of total holiday retail sales, up from 17.5% last year (eMarketer)
  • Apparel/accessories will be the fastest-growing retail ecommerce category this year, as the subsiding pandemic unleashes pent-up demand for clothing, at 18.9% growth (eMarketer).
  • This year, Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales are expected to hit a whopping $6.21 billion (eMarketer).
santa holiday shopping in a mask 2021 trends advertisers and tips

3. An Earlier Start to Holiday Shopping is Predicted

That’s right. The combination of pent up demand, higher ecommerce activity, and shifting sale dates from big retailers mean holiday shopping will likely start earlier this year (like last year).

Consumers are eager to shop and eager to celebrate. Retailers like Gap are predicting “customer exuberance” for back-to-school shopping, and the sentiment will likely carry over to the holidays. And while the traditional holiday period normally begins in late November or early December, last year Amazon postponed Prime Day to October, leading other retailers to introduce coinciding, earlier promotional events. Criteo found that one-quarter of U.S. consumers research purchases one month before their Black Friday buys. In fact, 30% of consumers will try a new online store because of early holiday deals, well ahead of Black Friday. A Facebook survey found that nearly half of shoppers started holiday shopping before-and often in place of-in-store doorbusters on Black Friday in 2020.

All this means that brands and advertisers should start connecting with both loyal and new customers across digital and mobile channels now, and offer deals and incentives to start holiday shopping early. In order to attract new customers, lead generation is critical.

The Stats:

  • 30% of consumers will try a new online store because of early holiday deals, well ahead of Black Friday (Criteo via Mediapost, 2021).
  • On average, U.S. consumers start researching Black Friday deals 14 days prior, as they look for discounts and to avoid sellouts for products such as video games and toys (Criteo via Mediapost, 2021).
  • One-quarter of consumers research purchases one month before their Black Friday buys (Criteo via Mediapost, 2021).
  • Nearly half of shoppers started holiday shopping before-and often in place of-in-store doorbusters on Black Friday in 2020 (Facebook via Adweek).

4. Maximize an Omnichannel Approach for Holiday Shopping Success

“Click and collect” grew vastly in popularity last year for its safety in the midst of a pandemic, but consumers have grown accustomed to its convenience. Who wants to wait in a line at 4am for a sale when they can order from their home and pick up from their car? Especially since retailers proved over the last year that they can duplicate much of the in-store experiences digitally by offering the same discounts online.​​

More and more, consumers are blending the best of online and in-store to create their ideal hybrid shopping experience. Shoppers are discovering products on their phone, researching online at their desktop, checking out products in store etc. They then return to online sites to buy, and so on because of which it’s extremely crucial to make use of a responsive web design. Firms like Hooked Marketing could help with regards to designing a website that is user-friendly.

It’s essential to create convenient, frictionless, omnichannel offerings. Advertisers need to reach consumers at the point of research and purchase across all devices. In the US, omnichannel shopping has grown by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Nielson.

The Stats:

  • There has been 1.3X growth in mobile purchasing, globally, for the holiday season since 2018. (Facebook)
  • Adobe found that over half of digital Christmas revenue in 2020 came from smartphones (Adobe via Adweek)
  • US shoppers spent $72.46 billion via click and collect last year, a 106.9% growth rate over 2019 (eMarketer).
  • Click and collect will account for 9.9% of all retail ecommerce sales this year (eMarketer).
  • Over 150 million people will make at least one purchase via click and collect this year in the US (eMarketer).
  • In the US, omnichannel shopping has grown by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic (Nielson via Facebook).

5. Help Holiday Shoppers With Online Discovery + Context

Half of all shoppers polled by Facebook experienced some difficulty knowing what to buy for others, while 63% of global shoppers surveyed enjoyed discovering items they weren’t actively looking for. Call it Discovery Commerce, online discovery, point of intent, content marketing – the point is the same: consumers want a bit of help when it comes to shopping, and there’s no shame in that.

Creating digital ads – discovery aides – that help shoppers determine what to buy based on what they are likely to love (thanks to context clues and audience groups, for example) is crucial to success. Maximizing contextual targeting and context-driven optimization will ensure your ads and content find your target shoppers. Make your consumers’ holiday shopping job easier. Don’t just meet them at their needs; anticipate them.

The Stats:

  • 63% of global shoppers surveyed enjoyed discovering items they weren’t actively looking for. * (Facebook)
  • Half of all shoppers polled experienced some difficulty knowing what to buy for others, highlighting the need for discovery aides-especially during the holidays (Facebook).

Read more: 3 Tips to Keep Your Campaigns Safe With Bidtellect & IAS Thanks to Context Control, Brand Safety

Brands and advertisers, we hope these 2021 holiday shopping trends and tips help you feel ready – it’s going to be a great year! For more tips, check out our creative best practices: the naughty and nice list.

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