The opportunity to acquire new customers will be strongest in the beginning of the holiday season.
Cyber Month will continue to steal Black Friday’s thunder. And stores and online will both be strong this holiday.
Those are among the trends and insights in a forecast of the upcoming holiday season by retail media platform Criteo. This year’s holiday season faces some of the same challenges as last year’s — such as supply chin problems and labor shortages — along with a few new ones as gas prices rise and inflation in some parts of the world brings fears of a recession, noted Criteo.
To help marketers make the most of the season, Criteo analyzed exclusive data from its retailer partners (which includes millions of consumer transactions) and findings from its global monthly Consumer Sentiment Index survey.
Here are the predictions in Criteo’s “2022 Holiday and Festive Season Commerce Trends: 5 Predictions.”
1. Cyber Month will continue to steal Black Friday's thunder.
Black Friday still gets a lot of attention, but except for 2020 (peak Covid), the Black Friday super-spike has softened considerably since 2015. Instead, over the years, sales have been rising across the entire month of November, showing that shoppers no longer expect to grab all the best deals in one day, and earning it the “Cyber Month” moniker.
In 2022, lingering supply chain challenges and labor shortage issues are likely to drive shoppers to get an even earlier start. In fact, 77% of Americans told us that they often purchase holiday gifts during Amazon Prime Day and the competing events offered by other retailers in July.
2: Acquisition opportunities will be strongest in the beginning of the season.
Criteo data shows that in the U.S., the share of new buyers (consumers identified as new clients) begins to rise in early November and peaks on Black Friday. That makes this period a crucial time to acquire new customers.
Later in December, the focus should be on returning customers and client loyalty, as the share of new clients is at the lowest.
3: Highly variable shopping journeys will require agile marketing.
Criteo sales data showed that last fall, for the one quarter of U.S. consumers who had the shortest path to purchase, the average time between a first page view and a purchase was just 30 minutes. For the one quarter who had the longest path to purchase, the average time between a first page view and a purchase was 48 days.
This reinforces that consumer journeys are all unique. But with the right data and intelligence, you can know when and how to reach each shopper based on where they are and how fast they are moving in that journey.
4: Stores and online will both be strong this season.
According to Criteo’s global consumer survey, physical stores are more popular than they were a year ago — not only as a place to buy things, but also as a source of inspiration for purchases.
Online ads are more popular than they were last year for discovery, as well. In addition, Criteo sales data shows that in-store shoppers purchase almost twice as often when they also visit the retailer’s website. Survey respondents also reported doing a lot more buy online, pick up in store vs. last year.
“This peak shopping season, new challenges, including higher gas prices, may push consumers to make fewer, but larger in-person trips,” the report stated. “Possible supply limitations will also encourage people to go in store if they know the product they want is available there. Longer shipping times and earlier last ship dates will also bring shoppers into stores earlier than past years.”
All of of the above points to a need for a strong omnichannel strategy that helps guide consumers from online or offline discovery through to purchase on the channel of their choosing, Criteo concluded.
5: Shoppers will start checking off their gift lists now.
Criteo’s ongoing global consumer survey found that half of respondents started thinking of holiday gifts in July 2021, and 30% had bought gifts in August 2021.
The data also showed that a larger percentage of Millennials and Gen Zers began buying gifts earlier than Gen X and Boomers.