Phase 3's announcement only intensified the holiday bustle. COVID-19 has taken its toll on Christmas sales - a study by Morning Consult has shown that 71% of consumers will be spending less than usual on celebrations with friends, and 67% will be spending less than usual on celebrations with family. 62% also intend on spending less on key categories like food & beverages.
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the spending habits of consumers.
When it comes to where consumers will be shopping this Christmas, a study by Hubspot reveals that 33% of consumers plan on shopping mostly/completely online, 34% are shopping both online and at retail outlets, and 33% plan on shopping mostly/completely at retail outlets this year.
When it comes to how much consumers intend to spend, 41% responded that they plan on spending less money and/or buying fewer gifts. Only 8% reported that COVID-19 would not be impacting their holiday shopping plans.
So what does this mean for businesses?
The pandemic has proven beyond any doubt that eCommerce is imperative to any businesses looking to secure sales. The initial fear surrounding COVID-19 pushed many consumers to make the switch to online shopping - which resulted in tech giant Amazon turning over their biggest profit ever at height of the coronavirus pandemic in the US. In the past, Alibaba also saw a similar growth during the 2003 SARS pandemic, which convinced millions of Chinese consumers to try online shopping.
Should your holiday campaign make reference to COVID-19?
The short answer is yes - according to a study by Ace Metrix, many holiday ads have acknowledged the new normal under the pandemic. This doesn’t mean your ad needs to show Christmas parties over Zoom - although Target's "Great Time" commercial features a good mix of both digital and in-person celebrations.
Another commercial that handles the COVID-19 topic well is Etsy’s "Nana" ad, which was amongst the top 5 ranked 2020 holiday ads by Ace Metrix. The ad features a grandmother receiving a gift from her grandson, but only being able to discuss it with him over a video call - earning the video points for likeability and relevance to current times.
As such, don’t be afraid to acknowledge the year that we’ve had. Consumers are still eager for gift-giving ideas and rethinking the way Christmas is being celebrated this year. When brainstorming holiday marketing topics, find an angle that gets your consumers into the holiday spirit - in spite of the restrictions in place.
As mentioned, Christmas shoppers this year have tighter wallets, which means that your business needs to give more reasons to buy your service/product.
Most people are looking for good deals and essential items - so focus your messaging on addressing questions like “why you need this product” or "why these products are worth its price".
If your business can’t afford to offer a sale or deal, you can look to testimonials, reviews, or other user-generated content (UGC) from your current customers as part of your marketing strategy. Testimonial marketing is a good option if your business has a large base of satisfied customers who are willing to vouch for the performance, quality, and/or value of your product/service. This helps to build a sense of trust/authenticity that ultimately leads to purchases.
According to a study by Adobe, almost 40% of consumers are looking for messages that “distract” them from the ongoing pandemic - contrasting the more serious, “we’re with you” tone that characterised many COVID-19 response ads. As such, while it’s okay to touch on the topic, it’s probably not a good idea to make the pandemic a central theme in your messaging.
During the lockdown, brands have found creative ways to create digital experiences to engage their consumers. Instead of using traditional out-of-home (OOH) advertising, some brands have created digital experiences that simulate the in-store Christmas shopping experience.
For instance - instead of launching products sales in-store, brands have resorted to using live streams and virtual events. The biggest example of this is Apple, who broadcasted their iPhone 12 launch this year (in place of their usual keynote event).
You can also entice your customers by offering online-exclusive offers. Home Depot, for example, capitalised on their growing number of mobile shoppers by offering customers early access to seasonal deals when using their app.
In the spirit of Christmas, some brands have also found meaningful ways to give back to their customers. For example, DoubleTree by Hilton released the official recipe for their famous chocolate chip cookies for bakers to make at home, and Disney released a series of 360° YouTube videos of their popular Disneyland theme park rides.
It’s been a tough year, and consumers are looking for a sense of normalcy this holiday season - so do them a solid and give them what they want! Here at Big 3 Media, we have a suite of services to market your business during these challenging times:
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