Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Believe it or not, nearly half the American population has already begun shopping for Christmas, according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll for the financial company Affirm. The poll of 2,000 consumers revealed that 47% admitted to having already started their holiday shopping. Another recent poll by SWNS Digital found that 47% said they shopped early out of boredom.
Why so early?
Many respondents (41%) revealed that they redirected funds they had originally intended to use for holiday travel, but that was before the pandemic was declared. 15% confessed to having started their shopping in August, while another 17% said they still intend to travel during the holidays.
An advantage to early holiday shopping is that shipping should be faster than during the holiday season. At this time of the year, it’s likely that the selection of products will be wider and more available.
Good news for merchants
The good news for merchants ready to market to these consumers is that 75% revealed that they plan to use the money they would have spent on travel to buy even more holiday gifts. And it should come as no surprise that almost half (48%) said they expect to holiday shop online.
In case they see something on sale, 70% said they would be more likely to buy it sooner than later, rather than wait for what used to be the traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Whether or not there’s a fear of supply chain availability as we’ve seen in some products, 38% said they would even make a large purchase and finance it if necessary, if it was something that caught their attention.
Where’s the extra money going?
OnePoll discovered that apparel looks like the big winner. 27% of those polled said they expect to buy more clothing and accessories this year than they did in 2019. 25% added that they plan to purchase more electronics.
As promising as the sales outlook appears, some yellow flags were also thrown in during the survey. 48% of the respondents said they were concerned about going over budget and into debit on their holiday spending. And though nearly 50% said they were interested in paying off their holiday purchases over time, they also expressed a concern over hidden fees. 43% said hidden fees were the biggest blows to their budgets, even though 80% hope to pay off their holiday shopping bills before December 25th.
CMOs who have products that appeal to holiday shoppers should craft and launch a marketing campaign online sooner than later, to capitalize on the early interest already demonstrated by consumers. Earlier surveys showed increases in other home-related purchases during the pandemic and may likely continue. They included arts and crafts, cooking and baking-related appliances, games and entertainment, fitness equipment, and home improvement tools.
Brands with 2020-related merchandise or older inventory may see this as a good opportunity to move this merchandise as part of their early holiday marketing. Giving consumers an opportunity to double-down with a coupon or two for extra savings will help entice and excite them as well.
Transparency is extremely important, and brands that extend credit need to be especially sensitive and clear to survey responses over hidden charges and special fees. Those working with banks or credit card companies should encourage their financial partners to do the same.