Black Friday No Longer Kickoff For Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping continues to begin earlier, with brands spending more money in mid-November to reach consumers than in prior years. Williams-Sonoma, Macy's, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, among others, began sending emails about online specials earlier this week.

Compared with the 2012 and the 2013 peak shopping seasons, marketers supported by Kenshoo began spending more on paid-search campaigns nine days prior to Thanksgiving in 2014 -- about four days earlier than earlier years, per the company's data.

Kenshoo published research Wednesday revealing that brands they support in paid-search advertising are not only spending more in paid search ahead of the holiday season compared with previous years, but also increased campaigns earlier. When compared to 2012, paid-search spend rose more than 40% on each day prior to Thanksgiving in 2014, with the largest increase -- more than 73% -- generated four days prior to Thanksgiving.

Retailers that Kenshoo supports invested more than two times more in Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in 2014 compared with 2013. Kenshoo began to notice this trend last year, with marketers spending more sooner in the year to reach earlier shoppers.

The telltale sign is whether rising budgets will generate higher sales. Sailthru released the results of its holiday shopping study, Trust in Technology, revealing that 92% of respondents participating in this year's survey said their trust in online shopping was the same or better compared with 12 months ago. While 31% of respondents report that their trust in online shopping this year compared with last is better, only 19% of consumers report that their trust in in-store shopping improved.

About 97% of online consumers will do at least a little to some of their holiday shopping online this year. The data reveals differences in spending habits based on age. Some 52% of consumers ages 18 to 33 will spend more online this year compared with last, whereas 72% of consumers age 34 and older will spend the same or less online compared with last year.

The 1,037 U.S. consumers participating in the survey made at least one online purchase this year. Among the consumers who spent less than $1,000 online per year, only 35% will do most or all of their holiday shopping online. Of those who plan to spend more than one thousand dollars online, 55% said most or all of their holiday shopping will be done online. 

"Holiday Shopping" photo from Shutterstock.

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