How marketers are responding to shoppers’ wants this holiday season

Matthew Tilley, executive director, marketing, Vericast

With the holidays right around the corner, the economy may force some consumers to adjust their plans and stretch their dollars even further. While some shoppers may rein in their spending, others will still go all out despite a cloudy economic outlook.

Given the current economic climate, consumers are becoming more attentive to prices.

According to Vericast’s 2022 CPG + Grocery TrendWatch report from April 2022, 61% of grocery shoppers pointed to inflation as their biggest shopping challenge. And with holiday shopping specifically in view, 27% of the respondents to Vericast’s June 2022 awareness-to-action study said they would purposely look for stores that offer the best deals and sales. If no deal is available at their retailers of choice, holiday shoppers may choose ways to celebrate the season.

According to the June awareness-to-action study, 46% of people said they plan to spend less this holiday season than last year. More than a third of respondents (37%) plan to keep their spending levels about the same. And it’s not just gift buying taking a hit from cost-cutting. Forty-one percent of consumers in the survey said that they plan to dine out less over the last few months of the year. Only a small group (16%) plan to spend more this year — driven by Gen Z consumers (32%), parents (27%) and those who are very comfortable financially (32%). 

Not only will people be spending less, but they also plan to delay their holiday purchases this year. According to the awareness-to-action study, 53% of shoppers said they plan to begin holiday shopping in November or December. In the survey, 29% of respondents signaled that they are financially comfortable; this group is more likely to get an early start on their shopping, prior to October, than less “comfortable” groups. Another 29% self-identify as experiencing financial challenges; this group is more likely to wait until December to start buying.

Since people will be shopping throughout the holiday season, marketers need to stay connected with them throughout the season to capture attention when they plan, shop and buy.

How to motivate consumers during the holidays

To meet shoppers’ needs and maximize the busiest, most profitable quarter of the year, brands and retailers must adapt and reflect consumer trends and priorities in their marketing. This holiday season, that means taking into consideration how and what they’re buying.

Some shoppers may be ready to browse physical aisles again, going to brick-and-mortar stores where they can see and touch the merchandise, interact with salespeople and feel the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. However, shoppers seem evenly split in their preference for in-store shopping versus e-commerce. About a quarter of shoppers surveyed for Vericast’s awareness-to-action study plan to shop more in-person for food and beverages for holiday parties and meals, while 14% plan to do more online shopping for these items. When it comes to shopping for gifts, 32% plan to shop more online, and 22% intend to shop more in-person.

Consumers will also continue buying from brands and retailers that offer deals. Sixty percent of respondents to Vericast’s June survey say coupons and discounts are more important than ever. Deals and discounts make holiday shopping more affordable, but shoppers also want information on where to find the best deals locally. Personalized offers and discounts are also crucial. For instance, 20% of those who own a cat or a dog would like deals on holiday gifts for their pet.

There’s no single outlier when it comes to how consumers like to receive their deals, so a one-size-fits-all marketing approach won’t work. Brands and retailers are covering the bases by engaging an omnichannel strategy that reaches the target customer in all the various places they may seek information about a product or brand.

The 2022 holiday season is likely to be very different with continued inflation, supply chain challenges, gas prices and general uncertainty. But marketers who take the time to understand, empathize with and meet shoppers’ needs will reap the rewards of a successful holiday season and loyalty well into the new year. 

Sponsored by: Vericast

More from Digiday

What TikTok’s e-commerce launch could mean for marketers and content creators

TikTok has officially launched its new e-commerce platform, TikTok Shop, earlier this month on August 1. Using the new e-commerce platform, brands and creators can sell products directly on the platform, potentially creating new revenue streams, and tap into the short-form video platform’s growing popularity.

‘The influencer industry can be really vile’: Confessions of an influencer marketer on the industry’s unfair hiring practices

While the influencer industry might sound exciting and like it’s full of opportunities, one marketer can vouch for the horrific scenarios that still take place behind the scenes.

Digiday+ Research: Marketers said revenue grew in the last year, with more growth expected ahead

After a tumultuous 12 months, marketers are getting a clear picture of how they really did during a time of true uncertainty. And, as it turns out, it wasn’t all that bad.