The Christmas season is a time when consumer behavior changes. What is more, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many aspects of our daily lives. Indeed, many of the new habits formed during the pandemic will contribute to new consumer trends in 2021 and beyond.
Facebook IQ offers insights, studies, and research using people, advertising, and industry trends coming from Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience network. This year, Facebook IQ conducted research on consumer behavior during the Christmas season, the key trends and takeaways linked to COVID-19, and observations of past economic downturns. From this data, they shared their key insights on this year’s seasonal buying behavior.
The time has come for you to begin preparing your marketing strategy for the holiday season. In this article. Eminence takes a look at the best ways in which to capitalize on key trends and engage with customers during this unusual Christmas.
Baby Boomers and Generation X contribute to the global development of e-commerce and growth in mobile usage.
COVID-19 has changed the way we live, consume and communicate. For example, GEN X and Baby Boomers rely on technology more than ever before, be it to communicate, to shop online, or to share information. On average, 85% of the world’s population shop online, with more than 80% of them being Gen X and Baby Boomers.
Indeed, both GEN X and Boomers have become very accustomed to shopping online, with 44% and 30% respectively spending more time shopping online. A habit that will prevail during and after the Christmas season this year, as 43% of those surveyed say they expect to shop online more frequently, even after the pandemic.
With the rise of online shopping, data security has also become a key priority for consumers who wish to avoid the crowd in physical stores. Indeed, this rise in online shopping appears to be a long-term trend, as one in three shoppers claims that even after the pandemic, they intend to spend less time in stores. Consumers are now looking for a secure way to shop that combines convenience with contactless, online services.
To accommodate customers during these exceptional times, many companies have launched “click and collect” services. This way of shopping is all set to become extremely popular during Christmas time. Especially as 56% of Generation X and 45% of Boomers prefer to have the option of buying online and then picking up their purchases in-store.
In terms of communication, an average of 46% of consumers worldwide say they spend more time using mobile messaging services, with Gen-Xers and Boomers reporting increases of 47% and 40% respectively to stay in touch with friends and family during confinement.
How to capitalize on this:
– Align your Digital and Physical Shopping Journeys
Harmonize your customer journey to avoid any delays or unnecessary steps that could hinder buyers from making a purchase. In the future, it is likely that most people, especially Generation X and Baby Boomers, will continue to use the technology that they have grown accustomed to using since the start of the pandemic. This means that you should ensure that your customers’ online experiences are seamless. Providing a simple straightforward shopping process with an intuitive mobile experience.
– Enhance the Shopping Experience
First of all, make sure that the Facebook Pixel, SDK (software development kit), and API (Application Programming Interface) are well set up and that you have integrated an offline conversion system. Secondly, ensure that customers can make purchases at any time and from multiple places. Experiment with new Facebook Shopping channels such as Instagram Shopping, Marketplace, and Facebook Shop, and services such as “click and collect” to local customers.
– Ensure that Customer Communication is Fast and Easy
Enable quick replies for frequently asked questions, set up convenient and instant conversations with Messenger and WhatsApp, and embed clicking to Messenger or WhatsApp ads.
Christmas 2020 Trend: Self-gifting and Seasonal Purchases
In these unprecedented times, consumers are looking for simple ways to stay positive and enjoy themselves. This was also the case during the global economic crisis in 2008. Many consumers were more tempted by smaller and more affordable gifts.
Between the years 2008 and 2011, Euromonitor International research showed that nail polish sales increased by more than 30% in the United States and 10% in Western Europe.
Confectionery sales increased by 11% in the UK and sales of assorted chocolate boxes increased by 12% in Germany and 11% in France.
From cosmetics to confectionery goods, the idea of “affordable luxury” is defined by each buyer according to his or her own purchasing power.
We recommend highlighting your more accessible products for a winning sales strategy. Ask yourself: what can the buyer afford right now?
What’s more, the trend of “self-gifting” affordable luxury products is on the rise this Christmas season. Indeed, 74% of buyers surveyed worldwide are looking for gifts for themselves during the Christmas season.
How to capitalize on this:
Encourage Consumers to Discover Your Products
We recommend using interactive content to connect with consumers who are ready to discover your products and inspire them to purchase your products. For example, Facebook’s Dynamic Ads is a great way to showcase the right products to the right people. Automatically display your products to consumers who have expressed an interest in your brand or a specific type of product. Simply create a product catalog and set up your Dynamic Ad campaign. What’s more, this Facebook feature will automatically update the prices and availability of your products.
Virtual “Try” Before you Buy
Why not inspire your customers through Facebook’s camera effects? These go far beyond animations, AR masks, and other fun effects. Equipped with augmented reality, you can use the Facebook camera lens to help people interact with your products via Instagram and Facebook ads.
The rise of new products and services linked to COVID-19
COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives in different ways. For certain people, it has led to new opportunities. From delivery services to rediscovering the simple pleasure of a home-cooked meal. In the new normal, many people have become more open to trying new products, services and activities. Especially if they have a better price or are more convenient.
The Christmas season is a time when consumers look for new products. Indeed, 64% of seasonal shoppers surveyed worldwide said they explored more new products during the holiday season than during any other period of the year.
How to capitalize on this:
Personalized Product Recommendations
Ensure that your customers get a personalized experience. Recommend products that match their preferences. Show relevant items, highlighting product quality, utility, and price performance.
Catch your customers’ attention via attractive story ads. Use immersive and engaging full-screen videos and carousel ads that appear as stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. This method is very effective, indeed, one in two people claim that stories have strengthened their relationship with brands.
You can use Ads Manager, APIs, Instagram, and Facebook ads to deliver your ads to a wider audience.
Expand your Audience with Branded Content
Before making a purchase decision, people often consult family members, friends, and even online influencers.
Leverage this brand advocacy to your advantage. Create a strong relationship with influencers and invite them to promote your brand via their content in the form of sponsored publications or stories. This will help you reach a new target audience and enhance your brand awareness. There are many different digital influencer strategies to choose from. Be sure to select content creators with a target demographic that you want to reach.
Go Global & Adapt to your Target Market
Borders do not exist in the digital world. Use Facebook’s cross-border business tools. Take a close look at your customers’ online behavior. Segment and analyze their actions by market. How does one region consume, is their average spend greater than in another region? Ensure that you adapt your sales strategy to each region. We recommend exploring Facebook IQ’s Insights and Google Trends, which are great tools that provide valuable market insights.
The Economic Decline is Giving Rise to an Increase in Mega-Sales
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses and workforces around the world, resulting in an economic downturn. It is expected to affect the majority of the population around the world. However, not everyone will be affected in the same way: on average, 53% of respondents worldwide think that COVID-19 will have a very small impact on their personal finances, while 43% believe it is the reverse.
For price-sensitive consumers, this rise in mega-sales is an opportunity in itself. Nearly one in three consumers around the world claimed that they will wait until the price of the products they are interested in are reduced before they purchase them. This said, already in 2019, about 54% of Christmas shopping was done during a mega-sale, and more than 43% of Christmas shopping was done on Black Friday. In 2020, these percentages are expected to increase even more.
How to capitalize on this:
Optimize Buying Preferences and Accelerate Sales
Leverage automation and machine learning to find the right audience at the right time. Be sure that you have the best campaign liquidity. Liquidity is when the campaign budget is allowed to follow the most efficient path to reach your goals. When properly set up, this type of automation will ensure that your campaigns are more efficient and profitable.
Explore New Mega-Sale Tactics
As digital transformation accelerates, brands need to be increasingly creative. They need to explore new ways in which they can combine their physical stores with their digital ones.
For example, Reels, IGTVs, social media Lives, and storytelling can be leveraged to engage with consumers during mega-sales. By using Facebook and Instagram Lives, your audience can follow you from a phone, computer, or connected TV and interact with you. Leaving you direct feedback, leaving comments, and asking questions. This interaction creates proximity between the brand and the consumer which is of utmost importance.
Experts can also share their top tips, give advice, provide demonstrations of products, host online fashion shows, and even invite guest influencers or celebrities on these Lives. These are all great ways to showcase hero products or announce new product drops. Encouraging consumers to buy online and in real-time by creating a viral sensation.
After a live event, you might even repurpose the content. Perhaps taking the best moments and transforming them into a video ad. From this, you can then retarget viewers with Facebook and Instagram.
The New Value Equation: Accessibility, Authenticity, and Action
Competitive prices aside, consumers also care about the companies they love, the people who work there, and the actions they take. Especially during this period, when social responsibility and brand authenticity are more important than ever. Consumers want to understand your business values, brand ethos, what you stand for, and be proud to support you. They expect brands to take action beyond the usual marketing gestures. Indeed, many brands lived up to these expectations during COVID-19: fashion houses produced PPE for hospitals and healthcare, workers and car manufacturers switched to producing fans, etc.
These actions have had a positive impact on the brands’ image with 56% claiming that they were satisfied with how brands were helping communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
What’s more, 74% want to see the brands’ activities on Facebook and Instagram during the year-end period. Consumers can be price-sensitive during the holiday season and still want to see real, authentic, and informative content.
How to capitalize on this:
Share your Values and Take Action
This season, highlight your core brand values and show how your company has helped support the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maintain transparent and honest communication with your customers. Help them understand your core values and how you have responded to the situation.
Consider incorporating charitable options that allow your clients to donate through the Facebook and Instagram fundraising and donation features for example.
Show Your Support through Branded Partnerships
Collaborative advertising on Facebook makes it easy and safe for retailers and brands to conduct performance marketing campaigns and boost their sales via retail channels. Brands can then use this catalog segment to deliver dynamic ads that present the right products to the right people.
As a result, consumers have realized that the value proposition of a product is not what is most important. Ultimately, it is the brand’s values, image, and actions that truly contribute to a consumer supporting a company.
Creative Considerations for the upcoming season
- Stay True to Your Brand
Ensure to highlight your unique brand values. Make sure your tone of voice reflects the core mission of your company.
- Lead with Empathy
Be sensitive to the difficulties that your clients might be experiencing during this period. Regularly review your marketing efforts to ensure that your messages resonate and remain relevant.
- Add Value
Your content should inspire, educate and inform your audiences. Always question how: what is your brand bringing to your customers?
In conclusion, the festive period is a great marketing opportunity for brands. Don’t hesitate to contact our experts to help you set up your end-of-year campaigns.