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What Brands Should Know About Holiday Shopping In 2021

  • Madison Vettorino

Holiday shopping in 2020 looked different from years past, and in 2021, brands should prepare for new trends to emerge. Due to supply chain shortages and increased shipping times, many customers are beginning their holiday shopping earlier than usual. As a result, an estimated half of U.S. consumers plan to complete their 2021 holiday shopping before Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) arrives.

A booming holiday season can help set a company up for a solid start to the new year. Here’s what brands should know about consumer behavior ahead of the 2021 holiday season—and how to use those insights to make an impact.

Digital is all the rage—but don’t forget in-store shopping counts, too

The consumer journey in today’s digital-centric world is different than it was a decade ago. Brands should be mindful of this when considering how consumers gain awareness and make decisions about products. 

Google, Dynata, and Boston Consulting Group partnered to survey consumers about how they shop, and over 70% indicated that their shopping journey includes online touchpoints. This reinforces the importance of digitizing the consumer journey. 

While including digital in the consumer journey is essential, there is still a place for in-store experiences. The shopping journey begins online, where consumers can discover and research brands. Consumers can place orders online, but the consumer journey could also continue when customers visit retail stores. 

Retail shops provide the opportunity to touch, see, and feel the product,  which proves valuable to consumers. There is also the thrill of discovery that accompanies in-store shopping. Shopping could also be considered a social activity and one that connects people to their community. Additionally, in-person shopping experiences allow for brand-crafted surprises and delight moments, which can be highly effective. 

A recent RetailMeNot survey revealed that in 2021, consumers say that they’ll do 51% of their holiday shopping online (down five points from last year) and 49% in-store. Only 14% of U.S. shoppers surveyed said they are not shopping in-store for the holiday season in 2021. 

In addition, 60% of marketers with brick-and-mortar stores are making their stores an experiential destination this year which could help brands prove the value of in-person shopping experiences. Partnering with an agency that knows how to create extraordinary brand experiences will make yours stand out. 

Brands should keep in mind that mobile contributes to the consumer journey more than ever before. For example, since the pandemic began, over 25% of online shoppers have used their mobile devices to buy goods.

Marketers should also consider streaming ads as a way to get the attention of potential consumers. Data from a Roku-Harris poll indicates that streaming services are now beating traditional television in the competition for U.S. shoppers’ attention. While streaming, 49% of consumers have seen an ad that led them to pause and shop for the advertised product online. For millennials, this number is even higher, at 71%.

Include social in your marketing strategy

Social media has an undeniable impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions. For example, 54% of social media users use social to research products, while 71% are more likely to buy products or services based on social media referrals. Additionally, 72% of millennials admit that they have bought beauty and fashion products based on Instagram posts.

Social media marketing strategy is essential throughout the year, but it’s non-negotiable during the holiday season. Social media provides an invaluable opportunity for brand discovery. Over half of consumers of all ages say social media is one of the most common ways to learn about brands or companies.

A massive 81% of international consumers surveyed revealed that they discovered new brands online during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are curious to try something new, and there’s an opportunity for companies to gain new customers. Social media platforms allow brands to form a connection with new potential consumers. 

User-generated content (UGC) can help build trust with new, first-time consumers. People believe UGC is more reliable, trustworthy, and authentic. Experiential marketing can also fuel user-generated content, which is why creating unforgettable brand experiences is essential. 

Additionally, brands can partner with influencers on social media to impact holiday shopping purchase decisions. Micro/nano influencers are a good choice because they’re often perceived to be more relatable than celebrities. 

In addition, a brand should consider working with influencers whose values align with their own. For instance,  if sustainability is central to your brand, working with a green influencer can help ensure your product gets in front of the right audience.

Value drives sales, so the influencer a brand chooses should be to prove the product’s value. Nearly 40% of a recent Slicktext survey’s respondents indicated that they purchase an influencer-inspired product because they “need” it. Value is what makes people click “add to cart.”

2021 is predicted to have the highest retail spending in nearly four decades

There is a tremendous opportunity for brands to capitalize on holiday shopping. More than one in three shoppers (36%) are planning on spending more money this year, which marks a significant increase from the last three years. 

Contact us today to learn more about how Inspira can help your brand prepare for the holiday season with unforgettable brand experiences, social/digital strategy, influencer marketing, and beyond.

SOURCES:
Exclusive: Half of U.S. Consumers Plan to Finish Their 2021 Holiday Shopping Before Cyber Monday | INC 

Tips for the 2021 holiday marketing season  | Think With Google  

Holiday Shopping By the Numbers: Trends for the 2021 Season |  RetailMeNot 

41% of Brand Marketers Say Holiday 2021 Will Make or Break their Business | Sitecore  

How social media influence 71% consumer buying decisions | Search Engine Watch  

4 Ways Social Media Influences Millennials’ Purchasing Decisions | Forbes 

Social Media Brand Discovery Study | Marketing Profs  

Retail Marketing Holiday Guide 2021 | Think With Google 

Use UGC To Convince First Time Buyers | You Gov

Holiday Season 2021: Influencer Marketing Predictions And Tips | Forbes  

Influencers’ Impact on Consumer Purchase Decisions | PRNewswire  

Roku and Harris Poll 2021 Holiday Survey Reveals One in Three Holiday Shoppers Expect to Increase Their Spending This Holiday Season, Highest Since the Survey’s Inception | Roku

How consumers discover brands online | Think With  Google 

Why most shoppers still choose brick-and-mortar stores over e-commerce | RetailDive 

What is “Surprise and Delight” and Why is it so Effective? | StampMe