Top 3 Consumer Trends this Holiday Shopping Season

10/13 By IAS team

With only 11 weeks until Christmas, the holiday shopping season is already upon us. As the coronavirus pandemic is creating huge shifts in consumer behaviour, this holiday season is shaping up to be like no other. 

To help advertisers understand how to navigate the new normal, IAS ran an online survey to explore how consumers are approaching this holiday shopping season and to understand the role of digital advertising in the consumer’s purchasing process. 

Here are the top 3 festive season consumer shopping trends we uncovered:

Holiday shopping

#1 Holiday shoppers are already spending

November is the preferred month to shop for the holidays, as consumers take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, with 27% of consumers preferring to shop then. However, consumers are already spending before November. Our study found that nearly 6 out of 10 survey respondents start their holiday shopping from September or October.

Therefore, there is a huge opportunity for advertisers to capture consumer spend ahead of the peak shopping period. The advertisers that implement digital campaigns early, will be able to take advantage of fewer supply constraints, as well as less noise from their competition.

Holiday shopping

#2 Online ads are important and helpful for consumers

As shoppers increasingly look to digital channels for their shopping needs, they’re also seeking convenience and becoming more receptive to digital advertisements during the holiday shopping season. 

When festive shopping, consumers seek out digital ads to provide suggestions on gift ideas or highlight promotions. With just over 6 in every 10 consumers agreeing that online ads are important in their gift search and over two-thirds of consumers see digital advertising as a helpful way to discover new promotions and products online.

With the abundance of channels and buying options available today, advertisers must ensure that consumers can easily find the ideal products and promotions they’re looking for and that they are present throughout the purchasing journey.

Holiday shopping

#3 Consumers prefer relevant ads 

As the majority of consumers see digital advertising as a helpful tool in discovering products and promotions, knowing how and where to reach those consumers online is crucial. 

With many holiday shoppers avoiding physical stores this year due to lockdown orders or concerns around the coronavirus pandemic, more than ever advertisers will be able to connect with their audiences using various digital targeting strategies. But what about the consumers – how do they truly want to be targeted by advertisers? 

According to our survey, consumers prefer advertising targeted to them based on context. With nearly two-fifths (37%) of survey respondents citing contextually relevant ads as helpful to their buying decisions, it is clear that contextually targeted ads can be an effective way to connect with shoppers.

Interestingly, only 29% of consumers are found to be receptive to ads recommending products based on their previous purchases.

For advertisers who are planning their holiday campaigns, the key to connecting with your festive audiences is to control the contextual adjacencies as this will  drive marketing success.

There is no doubt that this holiday shopping season is shaping up to be like no other that has gone before. More than ever, advertisers must capture digital consumers at the right time and target consumers in the way they are most receptive to. To understand more on how to best engage festive shoppers and maximise the return on your media spend, download the full IAS Holiday Buying 2020 report.

Download the full study to explore how consumers prefer to shop for the holidays, how their perceptions of digital advertising are shifting, and how can advertisers cut through the noise this year?