Holiday 2020 will certainly see its share of changes and new behaviors. However, the main focus will be the underlying trends that have been developing over the past few years.

To understand consumers’ spending intentions this season and how they compare to the prior year, take a look at trends happening now and some of our holiday predictions moving forward. 

Splurges & Guilt Gifting

  • This year, consumers are poised to splurge on gifts for themselves and their families, especially as they deal with the guilt of missing in-person celebrations. Because they have fewer discretionary expenses related to dining out and travel, bigger ticket items that support homebound living (for themselves and their families) will drive much of the holiday sales. 

The Switch to Shipping & Digital Items

  • 42% of shoppers plan to ship most of their gifts because they won’t see family and friends for the holidays. This will have an impact on the types of gifts they purchase, as well as when and where they are purchased to mitigate concerns about late delivery and fulfillment issues. We’re also going to see many consumers opting for intangible items and experiences – food subscriptions, streaming services, alcohol delivery services, and gift cards will be significant holiday sales drivers.

Practical Presents

  • This year, there will also be a focus on practical gifts. Presents that promote a healthy lifestyle, safer living, home improvement and decor, in-home learning/working, and hobbies and crafts are predicted to see big lifts this season.
Top Type of Planned Physical Gifts

Reduced Impulse Shopping

  • An increase in online shopping this year means less time and traffic in stores, leading to fewer opportunities for impulse purchases. Ongoing promotions will provide some boost to unplanned gifting and self-gifting, but not enough to make up for the loss of the in-person impulsivity that drives significant holiday sales. The good news is that 31% of shoppers plan to do more self-gifting as retail therapy.

Consumers are Cautious, But Still Plan to Spend

  • Consumers plan to spend an average of $691 on holiday shopping this year — a slight decline from last year, but in line with the planned spend two years ago.
Plan to spend on holiday shopping

What will this mean as advertisers are ramping up their strategies for Q4?

Here are our key takeaways:

  • To appeal to those who are looking to spend on themselves this year, introduce creative around self-gifting. Also consider honing in on the practical nature of your products, especially as consumer spending shifts from travel and luxury to homebound items.
  • Make gift cards and intangible products front and center on your website and messaging to capture those last-minute shoppers constrained by shipping delays.
  • Have a strong online presence. Because consumers will be shopping online more than ever, ensure your brand is seen at multiple digital touchpoints as they’re browsing gift guides and gift item content.

– Emily Le, Senior Marketing Strategist at Direct Agents

Connect with our team at Direct Agents and let’s plan your digital marketing strategy for the holidays: [email protected]