Watch Demo
Retail Consumer Trends

Early Bird or Last Minute? Unpacking Consumer Holiday Shopping Trends

Key Takeaways

• Pre-season shopping events reshape holiday retail landscape

• Amazon Prime Day ignites early holiday shopping frenzy

• Consumers prioritize value and deals in holiday purchases

• In-store shopping remains significant amid online sales boom

• Retailers adjust strategies to cater to early-bird shoppers

The Dawn of the Pre-Season Shopping Era

The holiday shopping season, a cornerstone of the retail calendar, is undergoing a significant transformation. Traditionally marked by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the onset of holiday shopping is being pulled earlier each year, thanks to pre-season sales events like Amazon Prime Day. This shift is not merely a change in timing but represents a deeper evolution in consumer behavior and retail strategy.

According to InMobi’s recent insights, events such as Amazon Prime Day, celebrated in July, have begun to significantly influence holiday shopping habits, encouraging consumers to start their holiday purchases much earlier in the year. This trend, highlighted by a survey conducted on September 19th, 2023, underscores how traditional shopping patterns are being upended, with impulse buying increasingly occurring during these pre-season events.

Consumer Behavior: A Shift Towards Value and Convenience

The allure of pre-season sales is strong, with nearly half of winter holiday shoppers planning to engage in events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday. Mintel’s research from October 12th, 2023, reveals that 44% of US shoppers are eyeing these pre-season sales, driven by a desire to maximize value and minimize expenditure. This value-conscious mindset is further evidenced by the openness of nearly half (48%) of shoppers to consider pre-owned gifts for the 2023 holiday season.

Despite the increasing dominance of online shopping, the preference for in-store shopping experiences persists. The tangible aspects of shopping, such as the ability to see, touch, and immediately take home products, continue to draw consumers to brick-and-mortar stores. This preference is an important consideration for retailers in balancing their online and offline offerings.

Impact on Retailers: A Strategy Shift

Retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy are at the forefront of adapting to these changing consumer behaviors. By rolling out holiday deals as early as October, these companies are not just responding to consumer demand for early-bird specials; they are actively shaping shopping habits. This strategy also reflects a broader recognition of the benefits of spreading out holiday sales, which can alleviate the operational pressures associated with the traditional peak shopping season.

The strategic implications extend beyond scheduling sales events. Retailers are increasingly focused on offering value, recognizing that price sensitivity is a key driver of consumer behavior in the current economic climate. This emphasis on value is coupled with an effort to offer flexibility and convenience, through both online channels and in-store experiences, to capture a greater share of consumer spending during the extended holiday season.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Holiday Retail

As we look towards future holiday seasons, several trends are emerging. Deloitte’s projections for the 2023-2024 holiday shopping season suggest a promising outlook for online retailers, with e-commerce sales expected to grow between 10.3% to 12.8% year-over-year. This growth reflects the ongoing shift towards online shopping, but also highlights the significance of in-store retail as a complementary channel.

The role of large-scale, flexible advertising channels, such as programmatic digital out of home (pDOOH), is becoming increasingly crucial. These platforms offer retailers the ability to reach consumers with targeted messaging, adapting to shifting trends and preferences in real-time. Such flexibility will be key in navigating the uncertainties of the retail landscape, particularly in the face of economic pressures and changing consumer expectations.

In conclusion, the evolution of holiday shopping reflects broader shifts in consumer behavior and retail strategy. As pre-season sales events like Amazon Prime Day grow in significance, retailers must adapt to meet changing consumer demands, balancing the appeal of online convenience with the enduring value of in-store experiences. The future of holiday retail will be defined by how well retailers can navigate these trends, offering value, convenience, and flexibility to capture the shifting patterns of consumer spending.

Marketing Banner