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‘Christmas in July’ really exists

Consumers definitely chased “Christmas in July” sales to get a head start on their holiday shopping this year.

Forty percent of shoppers completed part their gift purchase on Amazon Prime Day in July, according to a report by Valassis. Notably, among consumers 18 to 34 years old, nearly one in five already completed at least 25% of their shopping on Prime Day. This strong interest in early holiday shopping gives retailers an incentive to feature holiday sales early and often right through the holiday season.

The report noted that Cyber Week is critical to holiday success: Half of consumers are especially drawn to Cyber Week so that they can take advantage of deals and sales. To win the week, retailers have to win the weekend: Thirty-four precent of Cyber Week shoppers are drawn to retailers that offer Cyber Monday deals, while 19% plan to head in-store for Black Friday sales and 18% shop retailers that offer week-long deals.

Plenty of holiday shopping still goes down to the wire. One in three respondents wait until the last minute to purchase their gifts because they simply haven’t figured out what to get people, the study found. Brands and retailers can influence consumers via timely print and digital advertisements and offers late into the holiday rush: 17% of respondents expect better deals as the holidays get closer. Another 44% find better deals and savings opportunities most appealing when they’re conducting their last-minute shopping — even more than perks like expedited shipping options and the ability to order items online and pick them up in-store.

Additional key takeaways from Valassis’ holiday survey include:

•Consumers can be enticed to shop in-store with:
*Promotions/deals in the mail and personalized deals (43%);
*More product variety/options (26%); and
*Self-check-out options (11%).

•Retailers shouldn’t forget about social media as a sales and advertising channel:
*Nearly one in four holiday respondents will either conduct research around a potential gift, or actually make a purchase, directly through a social media platform. This number jumps substantially among younger demographics (ages 18-34), with 32% planning to use social media to support their holiday purchases.

•Consumers who wait until the last minute to complete their holiday shopping, ask a few things in return from retailers:
*20% percent find expedited shipping options most appealing, while another 16% appreciate the option to order items online and pick up in-store.
*For younger shoppers (ages 18 – 24), deals and savings opportunities are major motivators, with 52% finding this most appealing.

“With consumer confidence reaching its highest point since 2000 and this year’s holiday sales expected to break records, retailers can anticipate a successful season,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis. “In order to be competitive and come out on top, it’s important they understand consumers’ preferences and offer omnichannel shopping options. However, while consumers are changing when and where they shop, one thing is staying consistent – providing timely and personalized deals enhances the shopping experience and can help earn a greater slice of the pie during this critical retail season.”
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