Just before Christmas we put together a list of holiday ads featuring both naughty and nice advertisers to demonstrate the different takes brands and advertisers develop to entice shoppers to spend their hard earned money in their store or on their product.
Following that post we conducted a very scientific poll on our Facebook page to determine what people like better and what touched people. You can check that out here. The question still remains though: were any of these ads really effective in driving traffic or generating additional sales for retailers during this critical time of the year?
Now I don’t have the metrics from these advertisers to actually answer that question. But what I do have is some information recapping the holiday shopping season and trends that came out of the 2013 holiday shopping season. But before we get into that, I have one other question: do retailers and holiday advertisers hibernate for a week or two after the holidays? I mean, they have to be there after Christmas for all the returns and to help people spend those gift cards, but about now are they just settling in for their winter naps or just recovering and getting ready for the next big holiday: Valentine’s Day? Just something I’ve been thinking about. Let me know what you think.
Back to the subject at hand: trends from the 2013 holiday shopping season.
1. Gift Cards – Personally, I don’t like to give gift cards as I consider it the lazy man’s way out of putting thought into a gift for the special people in your life, but people continue to increase their spend on the little plastic devils. So much so in fact that Nielsen reported gift cards were the most popular gift to buy. The funny thing is, aside from my personal dislike for the cards, All Things D reports that gift cards often go unspent, or only partly spent with remaining balances for all of eternity. There’s another reason, if you needed one, for getting your loved ones something other than a 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 piece of plastic.
2. Christmas Creep – This is something we’ve discussed before and I think we’re getting closer to ValenPatIndeB2SHalloThanksMas. It’s just a matter of time. In the naughty or nice post a Kmart commercial was featured, and for good reason, the retailer actually started their holiday campaigns in September. Yes, that is before Halloween and Thanksgiving. But whatever works I guess.
3. Mobile and Online Growth – None of us should be surprised by this, as people become more and more connected electronically and tablet and smartphone adoption continues to rise. Part of the reason this year may have been the shortened shopping season. Regardless of the reason, IBM reported online sales for the fourth quarter rose 10.6% and mobile increased 46.6% from prior years. Those are significant jumps.
4. Paying Full Price – For the past few years I’ve considered myself a bargain-shopper year-round. I hardly ever pay full price for something and typically find rebates, coupons or shop outlet stores to save some coin. Turns out I’m certainly not alone, which I’m fine with, I just don’t feel quite as smart anymore. Time reported nearly half of all shoppers waited for 70% off sales to arrive before they made their purchases. To you fine citizens, I say ‘well done.’
These are just a few of the trends from this year. You can get more trends as well as recaps of the shopping season through this article from Ad Age and this one from Time. More is sure to come out about the success or failure of the holiday season as public companies wrap up their annual reports, but the initial reports show spending was up, probably as a result of the advertising, both in print and online.
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Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions. His career has spanned marketing positions in the non-profit, software and utility sectors providing various marketing experiences. You can connect with Scott on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Photo courtesy of The Times in Plain English