'tis the Season for Consumer Spending

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. For consumers, the race is on to get the perfect gift for everyone on their list, and for advertisers, months of planning and big budgets come together to break through the noise of holiday marketing. There isn’t one single marketing approach that will win this season. Many of this year’s holiday consumer behaviours point to businesses needing an omni-channel strategy for success. 

Let’s dive into how this holiday season is shaping up for both retailers and consumers.

Canadian shoppers are feeling more optimistic about the economy and their personal finances, and will increase holiday spending by 1.9% from last year to an average $1,593, according to PwC Canada’s annual Holiday Outlook report. Many Canadians are going into the holiday shopping season feeling financially confident and this is likely to translate into retailers being satisfied with their returns.

The fact that 87% of Canadians who browse online have purchased something in the past year would make it easy to assume that the majority of this year’s holiday shopping will be done online. Surprisingly, according to PwC’s report, Canadians plan to spend 41% of their holiday shopping time online, but the bulk will still be done in-store. Whether the shopper is browsing or purchasing, it’s important for retailers to provide a positive in-store experience, from having in-store technology, hands-on activities or acting as an extension of a digital site. The moral of the story is - including multiple consumer touch points, online and offline is important for ensuring a positive consumer experience.

With a compressed holiday season that includes six fewer days—and one less weekend—between American Thanksgiving and Christmas than last year, retailers are launching their marketing campaigns earlier than before. The shorter holiday shopping season means consumers will be making their shopping lists earlier on, purchasing gifts earlier on and will also be enticed by varied and convenient shipping and shopping options, including ship to house, pickup in store and gift-wrapped packages. Retailers will be reacting to this shorter holiday shopping period by ramping up their offerings to be ready for consumers’ needs earlier than ever.

The brick and mortar store is no longer just a transactional experience, the overall in-person shopping experience is key. 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is AS important as its products and services. People are visiting stores for unique, memorable and engaging experiences, and above that, are visiting malls to socialize, dine and play. Brands who use this to their advantage will win this holiday season and beyond.
Mobile phones have transformed in-store shopping behaviours. Mobile phones are being used to inspire purchases, help narrow down options and plan trips to store, among other things. Further to that, when it comes to technology that would be most beneficial during the consumer decision making process, unsurprisingly, shoppers strongly prefer any technology that helps save time. Mobile phones are essentially helping with the decision making process, whether it’s looking up in-store availability, reviews or discounts

In the digital era, it can be easy for marketers to prioritize online shopping campaigns. While it will play an important role this holiday season, it’s important to remember that there are so many other elements that contribute to positive shopping experiences for consumers. Retailers who are using an omni-channel approach will be positioned to reach and respond to consumers who are doing their research, have less time to shop and are ready to spend both in-store and online. 

For any last minute holiday tips, download our Digital Performance Report.

Happy holidays and here’s to successful shopping for consumers and retailers alike!