5 Trends and Tips For Brands & Advertisers This Holiday Shopping Season

5 Trends and Tips For Brands & Advertisers This Holiday Shopping Season

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.

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. 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. But it’s easier said than done! In order to attract new customers, lead generation is critical. As a result, it may be a good idea to get hold of the lead generation tools (for more info, go through https://serp.co/lead-generation/tools/) in order to gain traction for your company.

The Stats:

  • 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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A+ Back to School 2021 Advertising Trends and Tips for Your Campaigns

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Could Back to School 2021 be the year that kids rejoice MORE than their parents? While families around North America gear up for what could hopefully be a “normal” or close-to-normal school year, retailers and advertisers are eager to jump at the chance to be the first to catch their dollars.

These are the trends advertisers and brands should keep in mind to reach students (and parents) navigating back to school shopping this year.

High Spending Predicted Thanks to Combined Excitement and ‘Back Log’

That’s right. Rightfully so, retailers like Gap are predicting “customer exuberance” and subsequent high spending as students and their grown ups look forward to returning to school in person. Students are looking to make a splash amongst their peers with new outfits, snazzy office supplies, and in-person activities like sports. Combine this with – in some cases – nearly two years of school at home, and retail sales will likely boom as shoppers play catch up. Deloitte predicts back-to-school spending will hit its highest level in recent years and NRF predicts 13.5% growth in retail sales YoY this year, expecting back to school to carry a heavy portion of the spend.

The Stats:

    • 2021 back-to-school spending will hit its highest level in recent years: $32.5 billion for K-12 students, or $612 per student, according to Deloitte. Back-to-college consumers will shell out $26.7 billion, or $1,459 per student (Deloitte).
    • The NRF predicts that retail sales will range from $4.44 trillion to $4.56 trillion in 2021, growing between 10.5% and 13.5% YoY.
    • Thanks to COVID, back-to-school cleaning services are even more in demand than ever before with schools investing up to 50% more budget in cleaning efforts in an attempt to keep students and staff healthy.
    • New estimates from Mastercard SpendingPulse show back-to-school sales jumping 5.5% YoY this year, with categories that cater to in-person activities seeing spikes.
    • Target is planning for “one of its biggest back-to-school seasons ever,” and smaller retailers like Gap are already feeling “customer exuberance” that is likely to bode well for back-to-school sales. (DMS Insights)

Happy,Little,Girl,Holding,Digital,Tablet,Ipad back to school shopping advertising digital trends

Back-to-school spending on computers, smartphones, and tablets is expected to reach a whopping $11.8 billion this year.

Where Will Back-to-School Shoppers Spend Their Budgets? Tech & Clothes

According to the latest reports, consumers will spend the most on apparel and back to school supplies, but technology is not far behind (and likely will grow in popularity each year). A year of virtual classrooms has led to a 37% increase in tech spending for K-12 students, and a 16% jump for college students. Back-to-school spending on computers, smartphones, and tablets is expected to reach a whopping $11.8 billion, with wearable tech seeing the most money (MorningBrew). And don’t forget the newest category: personal hygiene products.

The Stats:

  • 44% of surveyed households plan to purchase fewer “traditional” back-to-school supplies due to a renewed emphasis on tech (Deloitte).
  • Even as schools open for in-person learning, 58% of respondents said they plan to spend on online resources (Deloitte).
  • 37% increase in tech spending for K-12 students (Deloitte).
  • 42% increase in spend YoY in COVID-19-related personal hygiene products like wet wipes, hand sanitizers, and at home work stations (Deloitte).

Product Categories on Which US Back-to-School Shoppers Expect to Spend Most of Their Budgets (eMarketer)

  • 60% Apparel
  • 24% Back to School Supplies
  • 10% Technology
  • 4% Dorm Furnishing
  • 3% Books

Types of Digital Retailers Where US Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to Shop (eMarketer)

  • 85% Amazon
  • 69% Big-box retail sites
  • 27% Office Supply Sites
  • 25% Apparel and accessories sites
  • 15% Off-price retail sites
  • 15% Tech Sites
  • 14% Drugstore Site
  • 9% Home Essentials sites
  • 7% Digital grocer
  • 3% Other

Multichannel is the Move, Thanks to Ecommerce

It’s no secret that consumers got more comfortable with ecommerce during the pandemic (necessity breeds skill). Shoppers are accustomed to online ordering like never before, but are also utilizing more of a multichannel approach like never before: they’re researching online, checking out products in store, returning to online sites, and more. Young shoppers and young parents will be the most savvy in this area, so advertisers need to appeal to their multi-channel habits and offer cross-promotions, inspiring content, online activations, and targeted strategies to embrace the excitement of going back to school.

“When it comes to shopping, it’s apparent now that the consumer does not recognize any lines of demarcation at all [between in-person and online]. Shopping is all one thing to them now, no matter where it happens.” (Matt Powell, senior sports industry advisor for NPD, DMS Insights)

The Stats:

  • US ecommerce sales are expected to grow 17.9% this year to reach $933.30 billion. Ecommerce is now on track to surpass 20% of total retail by 2024 (eMarketer)
  • 34% of consumers plan to use “buy online, pickup in store” and curbside pickup (Deloitte).
  • parents of K-12 students are twice as likely as those of college students to use emerging tech to buy supplies (Deloitte via MorningBrew).

Keep an Eye on Start Dates

We found conflicting research on back-to-school shopping, with some reports predicting earlier shopping and others predicting later-than-ever trips. WWD predicts that back-to-school will probably be starting off in August versus July, with retailers expecting a return to normal spending levels. Deloitte predicts an earlier wrap up of shopping as consumers worry about lingering COVID-19 disruptions, expecting 59% of total shopping to be completed by the end of July. A 2020 Deloitte study reported that 80% of back-to-school shoppers are the most active from late July to early August.

Either way, July is the time to start planning back-to-school promotions, since parents, caregivers, kids, and teachers will be on the lookout for products to make the new school year more exciting and memorable after a year of uncertainty and hybrid learning.

The Stats:

  • 59% of total shopping will be completed by the end of July (Deloitte).
  • WWD predicts later back-to-school shopping, in August (WWD).
  • Around 80% of back-to-school shoppers are the most active from late July to early August (Deloitte, 2020)

Here’s when school starts:

  • United States-from mid-July to mid-September, depending on the state
    • Generally, the Northeast, East North Central, and West Coast start beginning of September or later
    • The Southern, Mountain and Central regions start mid to late August
  • Canada-early September
  • Mexico-end of August

Back to School Discounts and Deals

Offer deals, discounts, incentives, and reward programs. Most importantly, include those discounts in your creative assets! Bidtellect’s [b]+studio consistently sees highest performance for headlines including a discount. Combine promotions (discounts or a special offer) with the shipping deadlines to incentivize your customers to start shopping.

Some ideas:

  • % or $ discount
  • bundle deals
  • free shipping
  • flash sale
  • week-long sales event
  • giveaway
  • contest
  • promo code
  • loyal customer discount
  • loyal customer pre-sale

5 Creative Best Practices

  1. Capture the excitement of returning to school with bright colors, happy students, and excited copy.
  2. Feature your product in relevant settings based on your target audience. For example: with college students on a college campus, or elementary kids on playground, etc. What applies to one age group may not necessarily apply to another.
  3. Students of all ages are more comfortable and reliant on tech than ever before, so feature tech devices in your images. If you’re selling them, even better.
  4. Like we mentioned: PROMOTIONS. Include deals, discounts, incentives, and reward programs in your copy. Bidtellect’s [b]+studio consistently sees highest performance for headlines including a discount. Examples: promo codes, flash sales, bundle deals, free shipping, etc.
  5. Offer to educate or solve problems in your copy. New hygiene protocols? Uncertainty about in-person classes? Choosing the right notebook? Help your students out.

We hope these Back to School 2021 trends and tips help you plan your back to school advertising! Download our onesheet below!

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Campaign Tip: Capitalize on this optimism with hopeful messaging and inspiring content.

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  • 45% of respondents said they need to be fully vaccinated before they feel comfortable vacationing, while another 24% said they would prefer to be vaccinated.

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  • About 20% of business travel may not return for sometime, and airline traffic likely won’t return to 2019 levels this year.
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Digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travelers’ vaccine certificates and COVID-19 test results. Travelers are already accustomed to booking online.

Campaign Tip: This illuminates where to focus advertiser energy. DO: emphasize hygiene and safety measures and ease of digital ticketing. DON’T cater to business travelers just yet – it’s too soon.

Discounts and Deals

Credit cards are anticipating a travel boom! Credit card issuers are offering new card perks for the travel bounce back: American Express introduced welcome bonuses for Marriott Bonvoy members, Chase is partnering with United Airlines, and more. Rewards encourage traveling and offset the losses of 2020.

According to eMarketer, higher demand for travel may lead to sharp increases in travel-related expenses, including hotels and airline tickets, which may create opportunities for brands to offer deals.

  • The share of respondents who said they’re likely to book a vacation climbed to 56% under the premise that they receive a discount from a hotel, and 59% said they’re likely to book if they receive a free night’s stay.

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What is Bidtellect’s TraderScorecard?

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What will I learn?

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How many levels are there?

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Is there a cost?

There is no fee to take the course! You need only to sign up with your name and email address.

Do I earn a certification after I complete the courses?

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Why do you need my email address?

Your email address is used to receive your certification through Credly. If you want to be included in the monthly newsletter, you’ll be the first to learn about platform enhancements, learn new tips, and measure yourself against your peers.

What if I don’t use the Bidtellect platform on a day-to-day basis and operate on a Managed Service agreement?

We still recommend the course! The course covers basic industry information and terminology that will sharpen your understanding of platform strategy to better work with your Bidtellect point person and help you navigate the industry as a whole.

How are the courses formatted?

Each course contains multiple lessons with a mixture of text-based information, lists, explanations, and videos of the platform. Each lesson within the course ends with a quiz.

How do I get started?

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Step 5: Once ready, take the Quiz to test your knowledge

This Week in Digital Advertising: Amazon Prime Day, QSR and Travis Scott, a T-Rex

This Week in Digital Advertising: Amazon Prime Day, QSR and Travis Scott, a T-Rex

SPOTLIGHT: WOMEN AT BIDTELLECT Missy Steiner

In this Spotlight Series, we ask women at Bidtellect how they navigate career, success, and thriving as a woman in ad tech.

Value by Context: The Answer for Ad Placement Post-GDPR

User data – often the primary (if not only) driver of ad placement – will take a back seat as tighter privacy regulations shift into place. Contextual Optimization will be the answer post-GDPR.

SPOTLIGHT: WOMEN AT BIDTELLECT Yulia Khudzik

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This Week in Digital Advertising: Beauty, Privacy, & COVID Drones

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What’s Your Mother’s Day Content Strategy? 5 Takeaways from Our Infographic

If your Mother’s Day campaigns aren’t quite ready, fear not. We pulled together stats you need and rounded up our Top 5 Takeaways from our Infographic you can download now!

Four Common Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

The modern content marketer is spending an exorbitant amount of budget, resources, and time on content creation. So why is it still not right? What’s the hold-up? These are the four common mistakes to avoid to guarantee engagement, results, and brand loyalty.

5 Tips to Make WFH Easier & More Productive

Lysa Vincent shares her five tips to make working from home easier, more productive, and stress-free. From scheduling breaks to what to wear for success.

Infographic: Here’s the Proof that Millennials Love Native

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5 Takeaways from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2019

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3 Possibilities for Cookie Depreciation and the Future of Post-Cookie Identifiers

3 Possibilities for Cookie Depreciation and the Future of Post-Cookie Identifiers

While Google’s recent press release on the deprecation of third-party cookies offered little in the way of new information, it forced the ad tech world to face the future with a bit more clarity and perspective. Google dashed any last hopes of a silver bullet with regard to unique identifiers (I now realize there was a small part of me still hoping for a browser based Ad ID), and made it clear that they would not involve themselves in any alternative, consent-based identifier framework (though it also seems that they will not obstruct such efforts). The programmatic advertising world is facing their options having heard Google’s qualifications, but for real this time.

Three core tactics present themselves as Chrome depreciates the third-party cookie.

 

1. Consent-based, Cookie-less Identifiers and Strategies

One clear path will be to use consent-based, cookie-less identifiers. Many large players in the industry are working towards these identifiers including but not limited to LiveRamp, The Trade Desk, and Lotame. These solutions seek to preserve the framework by which the Lumascape primarily transacts programmatic advertising –identity–while sourcing identity in a privacy compliant manner. While Google clarified that they will not be investing in this type of solution, these new identity products should still work, with some caveats. The size and scale of the addressable web within the scope of these new identity products remains unknown, and the big question is, what portion of the web are advertisers willing to sacrifice in order to maintain the status quo? Quite a lot, I suspect, especially upon consideration of the investments made into DMP’s, first party data, and other countless data strategies over the years.

The typical tactics of audience targeting, re-marketing, and others will continue to work in some capacity, and agencies and brands will continue to be able to communicate those identities to DSPs and down the line for execution. The scale and addressability will all just be some amount worse, as it is now compared to a year ago, and as it was a year ago compared to the year before that.

 

google chrome no cookies

 

 

2. Google’s Proposal: FLoC Buy In

Another alternative is Google’s proposed set of solutions. The Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) adheres to the rigors of privacy restrictions (self-imposed or otherwise) without requiring user consent. It sounds great, but there are a few trade-offs, most of which remain murky. Google claims “that advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising,” but the methodology with which they came to that conclusion is not transparent. Google additionally proposed that audience creation and measurement can be accomplished using FLoC; these proposals, however, remain incomplete and subject to change. The lack of clear information and plans from Google makes FLoC difficult to plan for and invest in. No one is clear about how well it’s going to work, and how much work it will take to get it to work.

We can at least say that FLoC will be one solution among three that will make a large portion of the web semi-addressable, with “semi” being a flexible and unknown qualifier for some time. Another large portion of the web (everything but Chrome) will remain non-addressable.

 

3. Just Let All These Post-Cookie Identifiers Go

While staring down the prospects of unique identity and FLoC in the future, one must ask, is it really worth it? Have we strayed too far from the light? Are all these sacrifices and efforts worth hanging on to whatever scraps are left of addressable programmatic media?

Each will have to answer that question for themselves; however, we can say that with a combination of intelligent contextual targeting with aggressive optimization based on non-identity signals, audience targeted programmatic does not have a monopoly on digital performance marketing. In fact, in the grand scheme of targetable audiences that exist in the ecosystem now, very few can justify their price against their performance. Dynamic and algorithmic optimization that goes beyond bid modifiers using non-identity signals reign supreme in performance, and letting go of identity seems like the sustainable bet.

Furthermore, while the addressable web shrinks, the rest of it goes on sale. As buyers concentrate their bidding power on those auctions where the user is known and consented, those auctions where the user is not known will have fewer bidders and ultimately lower media cost.

In the end, the smartest strategy will be one that can make the best use of all the available tools. A programmatic media plan that can work with the addressable web in the new era and understand its limitations while also testing and applying non-identity based programs will be the winner. The best planners and executors will also have a keen understanding of how their different identity and non-identity tactics will interact with their measurement and attribution solutions.

 

arthur hainline bidtellect

Arthur Hainline is the VP of Product at Bidtellect