2017 Holiday Shopping Trends
For many, this season brings up images of standing in long lines, while Christmas songs play on the overhead speaker, and somewhere in the department store a child is wailing. You sigh as you look down into your cart and mentally calculate how big of a dent these gifts will leave on your wallet.
Not this year! Enter the year of ecommerce and digital marketing. As consumers, we can now don our ugly holiday sweater, kick up our festively-socked feet, and sip hot cocoa in the comfort of our homes as we shop the best possible price online. For retailers, the shift means they need to be attuned to shopping trends, marketing tools, and their competitors to stay in the game.
How People Are Buying
No surprise, here: more shoppers are choosing to shop online instead of trekking to the mall. Additionally, smartphone usage for researching, checking pricing, and even purchasing gifts continues to increase. If you’re a retailer, you should be extra concerned if your website isn’t mobile friendly this time of year, but, truly, anytime of year requires an UX-friendly mobile site.
Spoiler Alert: Here’s What You’re Getting This Holiday
Eschew the obvious national chains and gift that dinner at the Yelp-approved destination with the unique atmosphere or book that quaint Airbnb instead of the hotel down the road: shoppers are choosing experiences instead of the typical “wrappable” gifts. Consumers being drawn towards experiences is a trend that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon. In a survey by Deloitte, 27% of respondents said they prefer to purchase experience gifts this holiday season. Gift givers are opting to purchase items like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Spotify subscriptions. If there are no experience gifts under your tree, then you’re likely getting an Echo Dot Speaker.
Swipe Up to Shop
Retailers are using Instagram more than ever to convert followers to sales. Brands are using their Instagram accounts to instruct consumers to “swipe up to shop” on items displayed on their Instagram stories — which, by that way, more people use Instagram stories than Snapchat — and thousands of businesses are using the “shopping on Instagram” options — where you can essentially tag items in a posted photo and users can click for more information and be taken to the product page on your website.
Pinterest has created shopping tools where guests can add items to their cart and checkout while staying on the site. Many Pinners use Pinterest to craft wish list boards, taking the guessing out of shopping for those friends.
The Elephant in the Room
We would be remiss to have an article on shopping trends and not include Amazon. They’ve increased their market share in the online retail market, introduced Prime Wardrobe, expanded into brick and mortar shops — which is ironic as many shake their fists at the retail giant and blame them for the extinction of many said stores —, partnered with Kohls on returns, and carved out retail space for holiday pop-up shops at their August acquisition, Whole Foods. Oh yeah, and they also announced that this year’s Cyber Monday was the biggest shopping day in their history. No biggie.
Going into 2018, Amazon will continue to be the retail brand to watch and compete with.
Remaining agile and current with digital marketing trends is a must for ecommerce and retail brands. Shoppers are spending more — which is putting it lightly. They’re spending billions more this holiday season, so you better get on board…. quick!