Interactive Advertising Bureau
07 October 2020

Member Guest Post By IAS - Are You Ready For A Holiday Season Like No Other?

Victoria Chappell, VP of Marketing EMEA at IAS shares her insights on how advertisers can navigate the new normal with the upcoming festivities and holiday season. 

The holiday buying season is already upon us, with only 12 weeks till Christmas. With the coronavirus pandemic creating huge shifts in consumer behaviour, brands and retailers are having to rethink how they will approach this year’s shopping period.

To help advertisers understand how to navigate the new normal, IAS not only delved into its vast retail data to identify trends in viewability and ad fraud levels during the holiday season but also surveyed consumers across Europe to understand changes in their shopping preferences and the perception of digital advertising for this “unprecedented” year. Our study surveyed 526 internet users from Germany, France, and the UK and here are the top insights to inform your digital marketing strategy:

Seasonal spending has already started

Consumers are already seeking out the perfect gifts. Promotions and discounts generated by Black Friday and Cyber Monday might make November a popular month for purchasing gifts, but it’s important to note that for six out of 10 consumers they start their festive shopping before November. Therefore, there is ample opportunity for advertisers to capture consumer spend ahead of the peak season. Additionally, advertisers that implement digital campaigns earlier, will be able to take advantage of fewer supply constraints alongside less competition.

High-ticket items are removed from the gift list

Given the financially strained climate, it is encouraging that 72% of European consumers plan to maintain or increase their festive budget this season. Only 9% of consumers said that they would significantly decrease their spend. As Europe heads into recession, consumers are looking to deprioritise high-ticket items on the gift lis. For 2020, the most popular gift purchases by European consumers will be books and music (50%), apparel (43%), and health and beauty (41%).

The holidays have gone digital and local

Given that Europe had already experienced a significant increase in online shopping as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this holiday season will greatly surpass what has gone before. Digital shopping will be exaggerated as consumers stay away from bricks and mortar stores due to concerns around COVID-19, as 80% of European consumers remain concerned about buying in-store. In 2020, the holidays go digital as 75% of consumers say they will do their festive shopping online. Even though the majority of consumers will purchase their gifts from large e-commerce websites, they also are pushing to support local businesses with one-third of UK consumers planning to purchase from local, independent businesses.

Holiday shoppers are more receptive to relevant online ads

As consumers increasingly look to digital channels for their shopping needs, they're also seeking convenience. When holiday shopping, consumers seek out digital ads to provide suggestions on gift ideas or highlight promotions. With 6 in every 10 consumers agreeing that online ads are important to their gift search and over two-thirds of consumers see online advertising as a helpful way to discover new promotions and products online. Additionally, almost two-fifths of European consumers stated that digital ads that were contextually relevant to the content they were browsing were most helpful in their gift search.

With the acceleration of digital shopping, a global pandemic and economic uncertainty, this holiday season is shaping up to be like no other. Today’s consumers are relying heavily on online shopping which makes digital advertising even more important to consumers looking to hunt bargains and find the perfect gift. With the abundance of channels and buying options available, advertisers must ensure that consumers can easily find the ideal products and promotions they're looking for. For advertisers who are planning their holiday campaigns, the key to connecting with holiday shoppers is to control the contextual adjacencies of their advertising, in order to maximise outcomes and bring real festive cheer.

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