The Holiday Consumer Profile: A Look at Where Shoppers Are and How They're Buying
Consumer behaviors are constantly changing, and marketers face immense challenges trying to figure out what shoppers need and want, particularly in the tumultuous environment of the last two years. With the second pandemic holiday shopping season upon us, brands must leverage a combination of last year’s learnings with fresh data sources to form successful strategies.
Now that we’re fully fledged in the thick of the season, it's essential retailers understand today’s consumer profile and where holiday shoppers will focus their time and dollars online.
What Will Shoppers Be Focused on as They Ring in the New Year?
Survey findings from Smartly.io point to a growing interest among consumers to use social media to aid their online shopping journeys. Specifically, 57 percent of respondents say they're open to making holiday gift purchases directly via a social media ad this holiday season. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular platforms people consider purchasing holiday gifts from this year — at 52 percent and 37 percent, respectively.
The data also points to discounts, trustworthiness and visual appeal influencing consumers’ decisions to buy through social ads, highlighting the increased importance of creative, transparency and markdowns this season.
- Discounts are at the top of the list (60 percent).
- Forty-four percent of consumers are influenced to make a purchase from social media ads if the brand seems trustworthy and respects their data.
- Thirty-four percent noted the ad needs to be eye-catching and visually appealing to prompt them to purchase, while 32 percent marked relevant and personalized ads as an additional influencing factor.
- Thirty-nine percent said image and in-feed ads are what they're most likely to purchase a holiday gift item from.
Brands Need to Meet Their Target Audiences Where They Are, Wherever They Are
There’s never been a 100 percent seamless, perfected online shopping experience. And marketers are realizing there may never be, especially if they can’t meet their most loyal shoppers where they are — which today, is largely on social media.
It’s essential for retailers to incorporate social advertising into their holiday and Q5 strategies (Q5 meaning the time between the end of December and mid-January, when consumers are typically laying low after the holiday splurge). There's no question anymore that if your brand isn’t on social media, you’ll perish. Meeting shoppers where they are on social media isn’t the end of the line though. Correctly positioning your brand for growth includes incorporating relevant information consumers crave. For example:
- 70 percent of consumers said they would be more inclined to make a holiday gift purchase via a social ad if the ad showcases products that are in stock at their local stores — a massive indicator that personalization speaks volumes to shoppers; and
- 47 percent said they would be more likely to purchase holiday gifts if they were offered “buy now, pay later” options (which are undoubtedly gaining traction!) in their social ads, while slightly more will be inclined to make a purchase when offered buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup options (52 percent and 51 percent, respectively).
As we close out another remarkable year, retailers need to see that there's a greater opportunity for consumers to discover, and even purchase, products and services from their social media feeds. To capitalize on this environment and differentiate, brands should look to create winning campaigns that prioritize creative ad strategies across social platforms and develop truly mutual relationships between themselves and their customers. Understanding where the consumer mindset is and how it’s evolving from one moment in time to the next is the key to not only navigating this holiday shopping season, but how consumers will choose to make purchases throughout the year going forward.
Riikka Söderlund is marketing director at Smartly.io, a social advertising automation platform for creative and performance marketers.
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Riikka Söderlund is the Marketing Director of Smartly.io, a website that automates every step of social advertising to unlock greater performance and creativity.