The 2021 holiday season was a time of great celebration as families and close friends were finally able to (carefully) get back to spending the festivities together post-COVID. This year, it appears that people are ready to kick that up a notch as they get back to larger parties and other holiday events with bigger groups. As recently reported by ModernRetail.com, 77% of people plan to gather in groups this season, up significantly compared to 65% planning to celebrate only with immediate family in 2020. Additionally, 29% of those surveyed are planning to host a party and 61% answered “holiday parties” when asked what kind of celebrations they missed the most.
This should be fantastic news for retailers - throwing and attending parties usually means the need for festive clothing, decorations, food, and more. However, the current economic climate is sure to affect sales this shopping season and retailers will need to stay on top of the latest consumer shopping trends and communicate appropriately to see success during this critical Q4 time period. Shoppers will be more discretionary with their money and marketers should monitor and ask their customers which goods and services are most important to them when making their decision to buy, and highlight those in seasonal campaigns and promotions.
Here are a few more trends to consider for a successful holiday season:
Consumers will have to make choices. Forbes reports that holiday gift spending is expected to drop by $30 billion as 58% of U.S. consumers cut back on non-food spending and 25% say they plan to cut back on clothing and footwear spending. People will have to prioritize and will likely be shopping around for the best deals while also looking for added benefits to the goods they purchase. Brands and retailers should focus less on pushing luxury, big-ticket items and more on the shopping and product experiences they can provide for their customers.
People have been holiday shopping since summer. Well, maybe not everyone has been, but in order to balance tighter budgets consumers will be spreading out their spending. Some experts say they expect shopping to continue later in the season than last year when shoppers worried most about availability and wishlist items selling out thanks to delays in the supply chain. But the opposite is true this year as many have record stockpiles of inventory. As a result, retailers started sale events much earlier than usual (hello, July Prime Day) slashing prices to clear out supplies, which worked well for those shoppers hoping to pace their holiday gift spending.
The desire for digital won’t die. Even though more shoppers are back in store, online sales are still expected to reign supreme in 2022. Today’s customers start their shopping journey online, doing research and reading reviews, so it’s crucial that both brands and retailers create digital experiences that are user-friendly, personalized, and seamless with other available shopping channels. Oftentimes, a customer’s first experience with your brand or store is on your website so you want to make sure you are making the best first impression that you can.
People still want to talk to other people. The rise of digital and automation can make servicing customers more efficient during a busy holiday season, but more customers still opt to talk to or chat with a live agent when offered the choice to solve a problem or answer a question. So even though people love the convenience of online shopping, they prefer human interactions when they need assistance. Retailers and brands would be wise to staff up their customer service departments during the holidays.
While we may already be in the thick of the holiday buying season, it’s never too late to understand how your customers will be making choices this year. Vennli can help you gather fast, actionable insights that can help you quickly pivot your marketing direction to ensure success.