It’s only September, and the thought of Christmas may leave you with a stern distaste. Yet a report conducted by eBay indicates that more than a quarter (27%) of UK consumers are planning to start Christmas shopping early this year. In fact, some have already started, with 34% of shoppers already filling their stockings. eBay has seen a 44% increase in searches containing the terms ‘Christmas’ or ‘Xmas’ between April and May this year (compared to previous years).
Why Push Online Sales This Christmas
Christmas shopping this year is going to be and feel different from what we all know. The global pandemic has changed our lives, and the new habits we have formed have already started to shape our behaviour over the festive season. Consumers this festive season will choose online shopping, rather than join a large queue outside a physical store.
58% of UK consumers say they’re shopping more online than they did before Covid-19 (Bazaarvoice). The pandemic has had a lasting effect on consumer buying habits. So much so that 61% of UK shoppers say that the pandemic will affect how they’ll shop for Christmas this year (Google).
Despite many brick and mortar businesses re-opening, KPMG saw online (non-food) sales increase by 42.4%. This has left brick a mortar business’s becoming less popular. Making eCommerce shopping the favourite this Christmas.
Last Year (2019) “57% of shopper-reported purchases were made online”. Due to this years shift in consumer behaviour, Google predicts these numbers to grow, over 70%. Google also anticipates a rise in consumers browsing online for gift ideas.
Seasonal Shopping Trends This Christmas
This year, we expect to see even more changes as ever, due to COVID-19. Facebook’s global marketing guide highlights trends and insights from IQ around shopping behaviour. It looks at 2019 Christmas data, COVID-19 consumer behaviour, and observations from past economic downturns. The report has some conclusive forecasts on how markets will shop this year. As well as how business owners can accommodate these new behaviours.
Facebook research speaks about 5 core movements within shopping behaviour. The five key insights include:
- Gen X and Boomers dominating mobile and eCommerce growth
- Self-gifting and Christmas shopping being used as positive outlets in difficult times
- Imposed disruption fuels receptiveness to new products and services
- The economic downturn will expedite the rise of mega sales
- The new value equation
Gen X & Boomers – Dominating Mobile & Ecommerce Growth
Digital adoption has been growing YoY. COVID-19 has sped things up, and seen this increase faster than expected. 72% of Gen X and 50% of
Boomers say they’re spending more time on mobile during the COVID-19 outbreak (GWI). This is set to continue into Christmas, with 43% of people surveyed saying they expect to shop online more frequently after the outbreak is over.
With more demographics online this year, it’s more important than ever that they have a frictionless experience. First impressions mean everything. Making the mobile experience smooth, easy, and fast will contribute to winning these markets over. Things such as checkout processes, site speed, usability, and communication can all play a part in a positive customer journey. There are some great plug-ins you can use if you have a WordPress site. Plug-ins such as Flux checkout help optimise and make the checkout process easier and convert more business.
Self-Gifting & Christmas Shopping – Positive Outlets In Difficult Times
COVID-19 has affected us all in many different ways. When we are sad, there’s one common dominator we all turn to…shopping.
We all love a bit of retail therapy, right? In the 2008 recession sales for self-care & confectionery had risen (Euromonitor International). Small luxury items are sought by us (consumers) even in times of financial difficulty.
It’s easy to base your strategy around offering the cheapest price. yet, it’s evident that consumers can and will afford to buy small luxury items to self indulge in when doing their Christmas shopping.
A great message for campaigns this year is to help people discover things they’ll love & connect the right products to the right people. Promoting self-gifting; “treat yourself” instead of “treat her” can be a great approach to take, depending on what you are offering of course. It’s also possible to promote this messaging while consumers are on your site, using plug-ins such as custom related feeds. These can recommend personalised products to the customer.
Imposed Disruption Fuels Receptiveness To New Products And Services
64% of Christmas shoppers across the globe say they research and try new products more during this time than any other period (Kantar). With the market booming during this time of year, it’s the perfect opportunity to find new customers or help customers find you. Using targeting, it’s possible to achieve this.
When it comes to targeting. It’s possible to target audiences that share similar qualities to your current customers. Serving ads to those in a specific location, or those who meet particular criteria. Targeting with ads is a great way to find the right customer at the right time. So you can find shoppers open to trying new brands and products. Creating compelling ad copy alongside some well-targeted ads could see your products stand out. Which in turn may see conversions skyrocket this Christmas.
The Economic Downturn Will Expedite The Rise Of Mega Sales
It’s not just Christmas that can increase sales this year, there are still some big dates in the calendar. 1 in 3 global shoppers waits for a promotion before converting. So it’s no surprise that 54% of global Christmas shoppers purchased something during a mega sale event. Or that more than 43% of respondents shop for deals on Black Friday (Facebook Seasonal Holidays Study” by YouGov, Dec 2019).
With the global pandemic affecting many. Sensitivity to price and avoiding in-store queues will drive e-commerce sales. Especially for events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The use of automation and machine learning can help find the right audience at the right time. There are also other events/calendar days that can be used to drive conventions. For one of our clients, we drove a 52.6% increase in sales, during a campaign in honour of World Breastfeeding Week.
The New Value Equation
Consumers now more than ever care about the actions businesses take. Even as much as price and quality; when weighing up a purchase decision. Facebook has defined this as the new value equation, which is: affordability, authenticity and action. Which means consumers are drawn to brands that support causes they care about. A report on brand trust & the coronavirus found that 65% of respondents will consider a brand’s response to the pandemic when deciding who to purchase from in the future (Edelman). Focusing your Christmas campaigns to offer more than a great deal could be the winning formula. Share values, speak to your audience and show that you care this Christmas.
It’s evident that we could see Christmas shopping take place online, more than ever before. It’s now more important than ever to consider digital methods of reaching your customers.
Online selling via an eCommerce store has many advantages over a bricks and mortar, something we will cover another time. One of the biggest benefits is data, and being able to understand your customers better. Ecommerce stores can grow at an incredible rate, and we’ve seen many of our clients take advantage of this.
Do you have an eCommerce store? Is it set up for maximum results? Our team of digital experts are here if you seek any advise on how to get the most out of Christmas 2020. Get in touch today.