It’s the most wonderful time of the year… already!
September seems a little early to be hearing the sound of sleigh bells but 2020 has proven itself to be a year like no other, once again!
In a year of much uncertainty, there is one thing we can be sure of: Christmas will happen on Friday 25 December, in one form or another. And this certainty in a world of uncertainty is bringing the seasonal festivities forward for consumers who can see joy on the horizon for the first time in months. A survey published recently by eBay says Covid-19 has caused Christmas to begin earlier than usual in the UK, with over a quarter (27%) of consumers planning to start Christmas shopping and preparations earlier than they did last year. In fact, eBay also reports that by May, search terms relating to Christmas were already up by 44%!
So, what do we need to think about to make sure this is the most wonderful time of the year for the businesses we support?
Flexibility is key
With restrictions changing in different areas of the country regularly it’s almost impossible for any of us to know what Christmas will really look like. Consumers will have different levels of comfort when it comes to gathering together so we’re certainly not in a ‘one size fits all’ situation! It’s going to be critical for businesses to provide different offerings for different scenarios and to be adaptable when it comes to their marketing, keeping up to date with audience insight and flexing campaigns so they resonate.
For the last couple of months, we’ve been working with our grocery delivery client to plan a Christmas offering that takes into account how people might be spending Christmas differently and when they’re going to make purchase decisions. And we’ll be ready with a flexible digital approach to respond to the ever-changing environment we find ourselves in, too!
Price conscious with a conscience
It won’t come as a surprise that financial security is top on the Christmas list this year! While last year UK consumers spent an average of £551 on Christmas shopping and celebrations, this year only 44% of consumers surveyed by eBay said they’re planning to spend the same this year with 31% planning to spend less.
Price will be important, but that’s not all to consider – it’s the season of goodwill after all! Research by Facebook IQ shows that beyond competitive prices, people care about the business they are buying from, with social responsibility and brand authenticity more influential than ever. When asked what kind of content people want to see on Facebook platforms, respondents said ‘real, authentic and informative’ content was as important as sales and offers. So, while your content plan should include your products and offers, consumer purchasing will be influenced by your brand messaging as well.
New online world for older customers
A recent survey by Mintel showed a huge shift in digital spending by those aged 65+ since the Covid-19 crisis began. This group presents a big online opportunity for businesses during the festive period, with winter virus worries likely to see this age group turn to buying presents and groceries online for the first time. To take advantage, online businesses will need to newbie-proof their customer journeys – we recommend a robust set of FAQs to make the purchase process smoother and take pressure off customer service teams!
A new type of festive spirit
Christmas is a time for heart-warming storytelling but with the 2020 story looking very different, traditional images of large social gatherings, shopping environments and festivities may not be relevant. It’s going to be important to evoke festive spirit creatively without torturing consumers with what they’re missing out on! We shouldn’t be afraid to celebrate but need to be mindful of how we do it. We’re in unprecedented times, perhaps this could be the year to try something new?
Sources: eBay, Facebook IQ, Mintel