To prepare for the holidays, you need to know what to expect. How can you plan a marketing strategy if you are unsure how many sales you will receive or where these sales will come from? The infographic at the end of this article tells us that these are the holiday marketing trends to expect for 2017.


Increase in Sales

In 2016, the average number of gifts was 12.9 per person. This year, that number is up to 14 gifts per person. Beyond an increase in holiday sales, you can expect a rise in shopping online, with 21 percent more sales than last year. Plus, 43 percent of consumers say they plan to find all their gifts online and 86 percent say they will research online before making a decision.


Online Sales

The reasons why many customers prefer to buy online than in stores range from traffic and parking to the inconvenience of finding out that the item they want is out of stock. However, there are two reasons consumers name most: crowds and long lines.

To capture these consumers, you need to ensure that your website is optimized. Part of this is making sure that your site is mobile ready, as around one-fifth of holiday sales will be from mobile devices.

Furthermore, you need to optimize for voice search — one-quarter of searches in the U.S. are voice command searches. Some of the top search terms include:

  • “cool gift,” which saw an 80 percent increase from the 2015 to the 2016 holiday season,
  • “best gift,” which increased by 70 percent, and
  • “unique gifts,” which increased by 65 percent.

Finally, you need to take into account the three factors that consumers say influence them to make an online purchase: easy returns, free shipping, and price.

Local Retail

If you have a local store, updating your website is only one way to prepare for the holiday season. You should also expect an influx of consumers to visit you in person — 38 percent of consumers say they plan to shop at independent stores over the holidays. Plus, although more people do want to buy online, almost half appreciate the chance see and touch products before they purchase.

Opportunities are particularly high this year for unknown brands and small businesses. Almost a quarter of consumers plan to shop at new stores and new online retailers. An ideal way to attract these customers is with special deals. 77 percent of customers say they make decisions over the holidays based on coupons and offers.

You can also grab the attention of two-thirds of consumers by encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews for your business.


Preparing for Shoppers

Consumers are split about when is the best time to start with their holiday shopping: 30 percent believe they’ll find the best deals early, but 27 percent believe that the best deals come late in the season. A better way to see when you can expect most customers is to turn to the sales data.

The fewest number of shoppers are done by Thanksgiving, at only 23 percent. However, this is a large enough number to show that you need to be ready long before the end of November. By December 1, another 34 percent of shoppers are already finished. The remaining 43 percent complete their purchases after December 1.

There are particular days that are especially popular for shopping. For instance, 59 percent of consumers say they will shop over Thanksgiving weekend, which includes 80 percent of Millennials. Plus, almost a quarter of consumers say that they will shop on small business Saturday on November 25.


Social Media

Whether you are expecting in-person customers or online sales, you need to ensure that you are providing an adequate service via social media. Two-thirds of customers say that they have contacted a company over social media, but many never received an answer.

Companies that ignore messages have a 15 percent higher churn rate. When companies do respond, on the other hand, customers spend between 20 and 40 percent more.

To make the most of the opportunities that the holidays bring, do everything possible to prepare both your store and website. Think about how you can attract more customers, whether through SEO, special deals, or free shipping. Lastly, don’t neglect social media and its potential to increase sales and attract long-term customers.

See the full infographic here:

2017 Holiday Marketing Trends infographic



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