Branding: Hurry Up, It’s the Holidays

Branding: Hurry Up, It’s the Holidays

See that blur? Feel the wind? You’ve probably waited until now to unleash your holiday marketing thrust. What you’re experiencing is the mad tumble-rush of holiday shoppers passing you by, leaving you behind in an empty desert. Catch them if you can. But you’ll need the equivalent of rocket boosters.

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas, And It’s Already Too Late

Look around; you’ve got plenty of company. Many brand marketers are clinging to ancient schedules. These timetables start the shopping clock in November. Didn’t you see the checkered flag? The race for holiday shoppers began months ago.

The early-bird trend was evident last year. As Nielson reports, 2015 saw 36% of U.S. consumers begin their holiday shopping in September. The new school year and yuletide perfectly synchronized.

Clearly, holiday shoppers are beginning their sprees earlier and earlier. As things now stand, the gift-buying season runs from September all the way through December 24. Will Black Friday get pushed back to August?

Shopping online with credit card for christmas holiday. Laptop with gifts on table on cyan blue background

Nielson isn’t the only agency to reach this conclusion. Ipos and Magnetic confirm the rise in in early-bird, begin-in-September shopping. Online gift shoppers are a particularly eager bunch. 79% of this spirited group participate in advance shopping. But undoubtedly, the most spirited of the online enthusiasts are those hunting for gifts year round. A full 17% of digital shoppers fall into this category. Holiday marketers targeting this group have 365 days (with a bonus day for leap year) in which to make an impression.

Holiday shoppers aren’t even limited by time of day or geographical space. Thanks to the wonders of digital technology, consumers can grab gifts galore from the ‘online shopping mall’. Open for business 24/7, e-commerce retailers are fully compatible with mobile devices and the comforts of home – or wherever loyal shoppers happen to be.

Of course, there’s always a wrinkle in the fabric; renegades who refuse to join the club. In this case, the renegades are last-minute shoppers. This species is well-known and more than willing to defy current behavior patterns. Generally speaking, if these holdouts haven’t made a digital purchase by December 15, they’re probably headed to brick and mortar establishments within ten days. They have no choice – most shipping grinds to a halt in mid-December.

After the fifteenth, holdout digital shoppers crave one item – the precious gift card. During the week before Christmas, there are 72% more online gift card searches than there were during the first week of December.

Clearly, brand marketers can optimize results by targeting specific holiday-shopper segments, such as year-round hunters and last-minute gif card raiders. Each of these groups will respond most favorably to strategies personalized to their shopping habits and schedule.

If you have any questions or comments about holiday marketing strategies, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.