One-third of consumers who plan to shop during the holiday season say they will brave Black Friday crowds this year, down from 51% in 2016 and 59% the year before, according to professional services giant, PwC. The latest holiday shopping trends study by PwC found there will be almost the same number of shoppers online as there are in-store in 2017, with a predicted $10billion in sales for this Black Friday weekend.

Capturing information online to inform digital marketing strategies and come up with quick campaign ideas is traditionally done through website traffic. However, retailers need to be thinking more about using the physical spaces of their stores to collect information about their consumers and how to better understand and engage them as Christmas draws nearer.

Five key findings from PwC’s consumer market research highlight how important it is to know your customers, understand their behaviours and adapt their marketing communications:

1. Make it easy on me
As the holiday season rolls in and social calendars get a boost there is little time left to think about getting gifts. Shoppers want to be told what to buy and for who, and it’s up to the retailers to communicate why their items are best suited to their needs.

Purple tip: Send a direct message or email to customers letting them know what’s in-store the moment they arrive based on their previous visit, and that the gifts can be paid for with their new Apple 10 Pay feature and delivered to stand out in a marathon of deals.

2. At the holidays and all year, a community of commerce
There are almost the same number of consumers online and there are in-store in 2017. Holiday shopping trends this season will reflect 88% of consumers shopping in-store, and 84% will shop online. While we watch the scales level out it’s important for retailers to be thinking about capturing the analytics of people being in-store as they would online. For those that aren’t it represents half the amount of data and insights their competitors may be collecting and actioning.

Purple tip: Cross-reference web traffic with foot traffic to identify the difference in holiday shopping trends and arrange store displays and signage to reflect the more popular items and purchasing habits.

3. Holiday habits uncover demographic preferences
The types of consumers visiting shopping malls vary over the holiday period. There are some who step into a shopping centre for the first time that year and others who have been scoping store layouts for weeks with a list ready to go. According to PwC, consumers over 35 plan to spend more than 60% of their holiday budget on family, and while travel ranks high on millennials’ wish lists, Gen X consumers and Boomers are more likely to buy gifts of travel for themselves.

Purple tip: Have targeted messaging ready to go for the particular holiday consumer segments and send “buying gifts is hard – so treat yourself”, “your sister will love this!” or “your husband will not believe his eyes!” campaigns to the right people at the right time.

4. Generous millennial dads put family first
Point number one ties in with point number four – you have to know your customers, understand their behaviour and use these insights to communicate effectively. Millennial dads will not only spend more on their families (63%) than other consumers (57%), they are three-times more likely to shop via smart home technology. In fact, it seems millennial dads are very tech-savvy shoppers, paying via smartphones at almost three-times the rate of other consumers and four-times by wearable technology.

Purple tip: Don’t send a blast email with the same catalogue deals and new kids toys to consumers who might be parents. Mix it up by listing the top five items bought via Google’s Alexa or Echo and that all stores accept Apple and Android Pay – just in time for Black Friday sales and early enough before the real Christmas crowds take over.

5. Goodbye traditional advertising and hello influencers
Consumers under the age of 35 have had easy access to peer reviews, whether they be as a Facebook message, a recommendation on LinkedIn, an image on Instagram or as part of a Pinterest board with the “top 10 best” of the best. Brand loyalty matters less than it does to older consumers, trusting friends and family the most with traditional advertising taking a stumble in the eyes of marketing. Holiday shopping trends indicate they are on the hunt for insights about products with little patience for stories that don’t speak directly to them.

Purple tip: Identify the popular websites and social media platforms of consumers while they are in-store to tailor digital campaigns. With these incredible insights, marketing can engage the right social influencers online to build excitement around gifts this year.

 

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