Holiday retail sales during November and December of 2016 increased 4% over 2015 to $658.3 billion, according to a report from the National Retail Federation. While this time period has traditionally been viewed as the most important for sales, consumers are increasingly purchasing holiday gifts throughout the 12 months of the year.
As summer winds down and the holiday season approaches, more consumers will begin looking online for gift inspiration if they haven’t been already. But retailers and brands alike need to know that by Thanksgiving, 49% of shoppers will have most of their shopping completed, according to Retail Dive.
So, how are these consumers finding gifts? According to a recent study we conducted of 2,000 consumers, social media proved to be a valuable resource for product discovery and, ultimately, purchases. Here is what else we discovered:
Consumers report social media will play a major role this holiday season
A deeper understanding of the gift search timeline
Holiday gift searching most often begins before the turkey is in the oven with 36% of consumers looking for gifts ahead of Thanksgiving, according to our survey. But, the only certainty during the holidays is that the path is never linear.
The most inspiring social platforms
We asked consumers to rank the platforms they depend on most for social media inspiration. Not surprisingly, Facebook with its 2 billion+ users rose to the top of the list.
1. Facebook (61%)
2. Pinterest (38%)
3. Instagram (23%)
4. Twitter (12%)
5. Snapchat (9%)
Social media was the most preferred source of inspiration, having ranked ahead of retailer sites. But brands and retailers should know timing during the holidays is
everything. AddThis found Tuesdays between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. to be the best for Twitter, Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to be best for Facebook and Pinterest’s users
prefer Tuesdays between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. during the holidays.
Quality means more than price for holiday shoppers
Sixty-three percent of consumers considered quality to be the most important holiday purchase factor.
1. Quality (63%)
2. Price (57%)
3. Sentiment (32%)
4. Ease of purchase (31%)
5. Other (5%)
Influencers at the holiday can be a gift
to your bottom line.
Influencers can create engaging tutorials and inspiring recipes, and host seasonally relevant parties that are not only surprising but can help a brand stand out through their nostalgic storytelling and creativity. We have tracked historical data year after year and despite the clutter and noise of the holidays, time spent with influencer content goes up by 6%. We have also observed a 22% increase in engagements per post and a 13% increase in content views per post.