ATTRACT EARLY SHOPPERS
Prepare for the longest holiday shopping season yet
This year, people are buying their gifts early. They’ve spent the past two years watching the pandemic impact the holiday shopping season with supply chain issues, price fluctuations, and retail staff shortages. Now, they’re kicking off their shopping months in advance to get what they need, when they need it, and for the right price. In fact, as early as July, Google searches for “Black Friday deals” grew by over 200% in the U.S. compared to last year.1 This buyer enthusiasm means retailers have the chance to attract savvy shoppers early and distribute revenue opportunities across a longer period of time.
Oct. 31: Halloween
With shoppers getting a head start on seasonal events, retailers have more time to inspire them. For example, from June to August last year, Google Image searches for “family halloween costumes” grew globally by over 90% compared to 2020.2 Use Discovery ads to attract shoppers’ attention and give them more visual inspiration as they browse Google’s personalized feeds on YouTube, Discovery, and Gmail.
People now shop intuitively across channels
When it comes to holiday shopping, people know the right gift when they see it. They let their intuition guide them as they seamlessly shop both online and offline, frequently seeking inspiration by comparing products across multiple categories at a time. This consumer behavior was exemplified last year, when 54% of shoppers used five or more channels — like search, video, and social media — to shop over a two-day holiday period.3 As people continue to blend their inspiration, browsing, and shopping times, retailers now have even more touchpoints they can use to attract customers.
Nov. 11: Singles Day and other mega sale events
Singles Day started as an unofficial Chinese holiday. Then brands began latching onto it as a major shopping event, and Singles Day evolved into one of the world’s largest mobile shopping carnivals. Double-digit mega sale days such as 10/10, 11/11, and 12/12 are also becoming increasingly popular in Southeast Asia, whose digital economy is on the road toward a $1 trillion gross merchandise value by 2030. Use Performance Max campaigns to connect with your audience at scale during mega sales events. Pair these campaigns with App campaigns to attract users that value a smooth mobile experience, and set up deep linking to drive a seamless web-to-app transition.
Nov. 26: Small Business Saturday (U.S.)
More than two-thirds of U.S. consumers say that small businesses are important to their local communities.4 And, according to the National Retail Federation, 51 million shoppers participated in Small Business Saturday last year, with 71% indicating they were shopping specifically for this event. Reach nearby shoppers by promoting your available inventory with local inventory ads, and use Pointy to showcase these products directly on your Business Profile. Also, remember that your profile helps give potential customers a great first impression and shows what makes your store unique, so make sure to refresh it with in-store events or deals.
Dec. 17: Super Saturday
This is the last Saturday before Christmas and the start of Hanukkah, so it’s a great time to start directing customers to your physical store locations. During the period from Super Saturday to Christmas Eve last year, searches for “in stock near me” and “gift card where to buy” grew globally by over 80% compared to the previous week.5 Set up your brick-and-mortar locations for maximal success by measuring and optimizing for store visits or sales in Performance Max. To drive more in-store sales throughout the season, check out these tips.
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve
Even the most organized shoppers can find themselves scrambling to cross off the last few items on their holiday gift list. Last year, searches for “last minute christmas gifts for” had grown globally by over 700% in the week before December 25.6 For these latecomers, shopping online and then picking up items in a store can be a lifesaver. Bring last-minute shoppers into your store by adding store pickup labels to your local inventory ads. You can show shoppers which products can be picked up in-store today, in a few days, or at curbside.
Holiday shoppers can become brand loyalists
People who have positive gift-buying experiences tend to become repeat customers, even after the Black Friday frenzy dies down. This means retailers have a huge opportunity to give holiday shoppers a reason to return, which will drive profitability and long-term growth. It’s important, then, that retailers communicate their unique value and offerings to shoppers. For example, brands could showcase their outstanding customer service, help customers support causes they believe in, offer loyalty rewards, or provide a combination of all these benefits and more.
Nov. 25–28: Black Friday weekend
Even if holiday shopping is starting early, more than half of shoppers are planning to hold off on buying gift items until they are on sale.7 Many are also open to trying something new. For example, this July, to get a better price or deal due to rising prices, 36% of consumers said they purchased a brand that was different from their preferred brand.8 You can attract new customers across the web through the new customer acquisition goal in Performance Max and stand out to deal-seekers with sales price annotations on ads and free listings.
Nov. 29: GivingTuesday
Despite global challenges, people’s desire to make more socially conscious choices has not waned. The GivingTuesday Data Commons estimates that 35 million adults participated on GivingTuesday 2021 in the U.S. And according to Kantar, 48% of people say they are prepared to invest their time and money to support companies that try to do good. Let shoppers know what makes your business unique with business identity attributes and recycling attributes on your Business Profile. These features make it easier for shoppers to choose brands that support the same values they do.
Dec. 20: Last day for express shipping
Convenience still reigns supreme for shoppers, especially during the holiday period. This year, 75% of holiday shoppers across surveyed countries say they will shop with stores that offer free shipping.9 First, check the shipping deadlines of your trusted carriers, as they might have differing final express shipping days. Then make sure people know your products can ship quickly and on time with free and fast shipping annotations, and set up account and item-level shipping to highlight your shipping speed.
Dec. 26: Boxing Day
Once gifts have been unwrapped and guests have left, people could use some well-deserved indulgence, especially during this holiday season. On average, 30% of consumers in surveyed countries around the world say that this year has been difficult and they are rewarding themselves by buying things they want.10 When customers start taking advantage of gift cards and have more personal time to treat themselves, you can use the bestsellers report and competitive visibility report in the Merchant Center to see if you carry brands and products that are in high demand and adjust your post-holiday strategy accordingly.
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve
As New Year’s celebrations approach, not all customers will be on the hunt for party supplies, and fancy outfits. According to McKinsey, the “nesting” trend appears to be ongoing, with about one-third of customers saying that they aren’t yet comfortable attending public indoor events. Highlight products focused on resolutions, self-care, home refreshes, and yearly planning with Video action campaigns, which help combine the power of video with browsable product feeds.
Jan. 1: Sales season
As shoppers take advantage of January sales to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, they will be looking for the best value for their money. In fact, searches for “cheap and best” have grown by over 40%.11 Grab the attention of price-conscious customers by uploading your best promotions and deals in the Merchant Center, or scale your existing promotions through the Content API.
1 Google Data, U.S. English, May 24, 2022–July 22, 2022 vs. May 24, 2021–July 22, 2021.
2 Google Data, Global English, June 22, 2021–Aug. 20, 2021 vs. June 22, 2020–Aug. 20, 2020.
3 Google/Ipsos, U.S., Holiday Shopping Study, online survey, n=7,253, Americans 18+ who conducted holiday shopping activities in past two days, Oct. 2021–Jan. 2022.
4 Google-commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 Tracker, U.S., n=1,001 online consumers 18+, April 7, 2022–April 10, 2022.
5 Google Data, Global English, Dec. 11, 2021–Dec. 17, 2021 vs. Dec. 18, 2021–Dec. 24, 2021.
6 Google Data, Global English, Dec. 11, 2021–Dec. 17, 2021 vs. Dec. 18, 2021–Dec. 24, 2021.
7 Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, AR, AU, BE, BR, CA, CL, CN, CO, DK, FI, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, NL, NO, PE, ZA, KR, ES, SE, U.K., U.S., ~n=300–825 online consumers who plan to shop for the holidays 18+ per
8 Google-commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, AU, BR, CA, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, ZA, KR, ES, U.K., U.S., ~n=500–1,000 online consumers 18+ per market, July 7, 2022–July 10, 2022.
9 Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, AR, AU, BE, BR, CA, CL, CN, CO, DK, FI, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, NL, NO, PE, ZA, KR, ES, SE, U.K., U.S., n=275–750 online consumers 18+ who will shop for the holidays per market, June 10, 2022–June 12, 2022.
10 Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, AU, BR, CA, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, ZA, KR, ES, U.K., U.S., ~n=500–1,000 online consumers 18+ per market, July 7, 2022–July 10, 2022.
11 Google Data, Global English, April 19, 2022–June 17, 2022 vs. April 19, 2021–June 17, 2021.