There's every reason for marketers to feel down about January -- and it's not just about setting the alarm clock for the morning commute after a couple of weeks of blissful lie-ins.
The wanton consumption of December is replaced by, quite literally, a tightening of belts. This is obviously exacerbated by bargain hunters now being better looked after by Black Friday, followed by New Year sales that now seem to routinely be on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day at the very latest. If there's a big purchase in you, then it's like you've made it before we all line up again on early morning rail and tube platforms.
However, if marketers are looking for a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel before consumers remember how to spend for Valentine's, eBay reckons there are three types of customer, or at least three types of mindset to tap into this month.
The self-indulgent don't want the treats to end after Christmas day. Last year eBay reported 2.400 searches for diamond rings and a rise of 40% in searches for champagne flutes in the first week of January. Perhaps this could be people who dropped a glass or two on New Year's Eve or were ashamed by their glassware when toasting in the new year, just as it could be people preparing to pop the question on Feb. 14. However, at least the data is there to suggest indulgent spending is still on the table in January.
Then there are those who want to get away from endless rain and soak up some winter sun. OK -- so this is no surprise to anyone. But in case you're looking for a stat, eBay reckons that in the first week of January, there's a 72% increase in searches for beach towels and a 49% leap in bikini searches. Clearly, the background mood music may be depressing, but there is a mindset of wanting to get away from it all that can be tapped into.
We also have "deferred purchasers" who are looking into that sensible item that wasn't replaced in December due to the expense of Christmas. Searches for washing machines, for example, go up by a fifth in January compared to December.
The motivation at eBay Advertising is pretty obvious: It doesn't want marketers to give up on January. But at least marketers can take some third-party data out of the marketplace's rallying call. People are still interested in indulgent purchases, getting away from it all and buying that household item they couldn't afford in December.
To be honest, it's not earth-shatteringly new to find this out, but the figures will be of interest for any marketer at her desk this morning trying to convince a team that all is not lost in the month where many are traditionally cutting back on discretionary spending. Tap into the splash-out, ship-out and the "it's time we replaced the washing machine" mentality, and January might not turn out to be such a dry month, after all.
This is a slightly edited version of a post first published in an earlier edition of London Blog.