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How retailers can ensure holiday marketing success

Holiday e-commerce
Retailers need to avoid oversaturating holiday shoppers with marketing.

A new survey reveals what consumers like – and don’t like – about retail holiday marketing campaigns.

Results from the Optimove 2023 Holiday Survey reveal that while 50% of surveyed consumers will start their holiday shopping by the end of October, 55% are already tired of holiday marketing messages by that time. Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents have grown tired of holiday marketing messages by November.

In addition, the survey indicates email is the most popular holiday marketing channel by a wide margin, with 55% of respondents citing email as their preferred method of communication. This is followed by 13% who prefer text messages and 11% who opt for social media.

Emails should also be relevant, as 37% of respondents said that timely, relevant content prompts them to engage with holiday marketing emails. Other factors that drive respondents to engage with holiday marketing emails include special offers and discounts (23%) and brand identity (16%).

In terms of desired frequency of marketing messages (of all types), respondent preferences were mixed. Close to four in 10 (37%) respondents would prefer fewer messages, with 12% feeling overwhelmed by the current amount. In contrast, 33% suggest that more messages would be welcome, provided their relevance is maintained. The remaining 29% view the current frequency as satisfactory.

However, eight in 10 (81%) respondents will unsubscribe from a brand that sends excessive online marketing messages. About half (49%) typically unsubscribe from one to three brands during the holiday season, while another 34% will unsubscribe from four to 10 brands.

Other findings

  • Almost all (93%) respondents expressed a strong likelihood to revisit a brand or retailer following a positive experience.
  • Four in 10 (42%) respondents prefer to shop exclusively at familiar stores or websites they have patronized before.
  • More than one in three (35%) respondents plan to spend more on holiday gifts compared to the previous year. In contrast, only 17% respondents to the 2022 Optimove Consumer Holiday Shopping Report planned to spend more than the previous year (2021), marking a 105% increase.

“Managing communication frequency and relevancy is crucial for avoiding customer dissatisfaction and unsubscribing,” said Pini Yakuel, CEO of Optimove. “Most brands struggle to do this effectively as they either batch-and-blast consumers or use rigid journey builders that cater to the 'average consumer.'”

[Read more: Salesforce: Generative AI will help drive holiday sales]

The Optimove 2023 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report was based on queries of 281 U.S. citizens in July 2023. Respondents were ages 18-plus, 50% male/50% female (no respondents were non-binary or declined to answer); and household incomes were $75,000-plus.


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