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80+ Surprising Holiday Retail Marketing Trends and Statistics

Last updated: January 15, 2020


For decades, the holiday season has caused consumers to flock to retailers to find gifts for loved ones, friends, and family. This spike in purchasing activity has encouraged many retailers to refine their marketing strategy in order to fully embrace the winter holidays, and the increased revenue that comes with them.

With the hustle and bustle of the season, many consumers undergo a change in purchasing behavior. This is especially true in recent years, as more consumers are shopping both online and offline. To respond to these trends, retailers must understand the intricacies of how customers interact with businesses around the holidays. Let’s take a closer look at over 80 holiday retail marketing statistics that will help your organization make the most of the holidays.

Holiday Retail Marketing: General Trends & Statistics

It’s important to know the general attitudes of consumers when they’re embarking on a holiday shopping trip. While each consumer has their own unique motivations, it’s important that marketers understand their general needs, desires, and projected spending so they can create the most profitable campaigns.

  • There are several factors that drive shoppers towards new retailers for their holiday shopping:
    • 59 percent of consumers choose retailers based on their quality merchandise.
    • 57 percent of customers choose retailers based on their selection of merchandise.
    • 46 percent of customers search for free shipping.
    • 44 percent of customers are drawn to convenient locations.
  • Holiday retail sales in November 2019 were projected to reach $727.9 billion, while December accounts for $730.7 billion.
  • Retailers collect 20 to 30 percent of their total annual sales during the holiday season.
  • In 2019, total holiday retail sales surpassed $1 trillion dollars.
  • 49 percent of marketers begin holiday campaigns before Halloween.
  • 55 percent of brands report that email is their top holiday marketing channel.
  • 67 percent of holiday shoppers would share promotional holiday content that contained coupons on Facebook.
  • 63 percent of shoppers would share a link to holiday-themed contests, sweepstakes, or giveaways on Facebook.
  • 65 percent of shoppers report being influenced by sales or promotions.
  • Revenue on Black Friday is growing by 32 percent year over year, while Cyber Monday’s revenue is growing 15 percent year over year.

Consumer Shopping Behavior During the Holidays

The holidays attracts more diverse purchasing than most people anticipate. Consumers aren’t only purchasing toys or electronic gadgets - they’re also buying items like coffee that fuel their shopping trips. In addition to this, consumers of different ages tend to have a manifold of budgets.

  • Each consumer spent $1,007.27 during the 2018 holiday season – this is expected to grow to $1,047.83 in 2019.
  • Generationally, people between the age of 35 and 44 are predicted to spend the most ($1,158.63) out of any age group.
  • Some products are more popular than others during the holiday season:
  • However, some products are more desired than others:
    • 59 percent of people had gift cards or store credit on their wish list.
    • 52 percent wanted clothing or accessories.
    • 35 percent want entertainment media like books, movies, music, or video games.
    • 29 percent wished for electronics.
    • 23 percent of people wanted jewelry.
    • 21 percent of consumers wanted beauty or personal care items.
    • 18 percent of people asked for sporting goods.
  • Holiday spending isn’t all about the presents - shoppers spend money on other holiday needs, too.
    • 63 percent of spending is on holiday gifts for family, friends, and coworkers.
    • 21.7 percent of spending is on holiday related items like candy, food, and decorations.
    • 15.3 percent of spending is on unrelated and potentially impulsive purchases.
  • 52 percent of consumers between 25 and 34 purchase gifts for coworkers.
  • 82 percent of shoppers between 18 and 24 years old plan to purchase gifts for friends.
  • The average holiday shopper spends over $100 on themselves while holiday shopping.
  • In 2018, the average consumer bought 16 gifts.
  • The holiday season drives over 20 percent of annual consumer spending in most retail sectors.

When Do People Shop During the Holidays?

It’s important to know when your target audience starts shopping - without this knowledge, its difficult to prepare and launch campaigns in time for the holiday rush. Let’s examine when consumers are most active during the holiday season.

  • 43 percent of shoppers begin shopping in November.
  • 39 percent of holiday shoppers begin shopping before November.
  • 28 percent of Americans go shopping on Thanksgiving Day.
  • 56 percent of people who shop close to Thanksgiving think they get the best deals on Black Friday.
  • 55 percent of customers have plans to shop offline on Black Friday or online on Cyber Monday.
  • The busiest days for shopping-related mobile search queries in 2013 were Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and the day after Christmas.
  • 18 percent of customers don’t begin holiday shopping until December.
  • 61 percent of shoppers buy their last gifts the week before Christmas.
  • 134 million people – or 56 percent of holiday shoppers – plan to shop on the last Saturday before Christmas.
  • 40 percent of shoppers will complete their holiday shopping before or on Super Saturday.
  • 50 percent of shoppers plan to take advantage of post-Christmas sales in-store, while 45 will enjoy these sales online.
  • 27 percent of shoppers between December 28th and January 1st will be using gift cards they got on Christmas.
  • When surveying last minute shoppers, 44 percent said they were unsure of what to buy.

Online Holiday Retail Statistics

Today’s consumers are almost always online - and while they’re online, consumers consult a variety channels to assist in their shopping endeavors. Let’s take a closer look at what consumers experience and expect while browsing online for the holidays.

  • 61 percent of holiday shoppers research gift buying choices through social media. 
  • 67 percent of Pinterest users claim Pinterest is important for planning their gift purchases.
  • After researching on their mobile devices, 76 percent of holiday shoppers chose to shop from a different store.
  • 23 percent of shoppers plan to use social media to assist with holiday shopping.
  • On Cyber Monday 2018, several cities dominated. Denver spent the most per basket ($163), followed by San Francisco ($157), New York and Portland ($156), and Seattle / Tacoma ($154). The average basket size was $138.
  • Cyber Monday’s peak actually happens late in the night – between 10:00 pm and 1:00 am EST, consumers will spend $1.7 billion online.
  • Several sources drove Cyber Monday revenue:
  • Mobile devices are thought to influence 87 percent of all holiday purchases.
  • Shoppers have different preferences for how their items get to them:
    • 92 percent of online shoppers want to take advantage of free shipping.
    • 48 percent plan to buy online then pick-up in store.
    • 16 percent are hoping to use same-day delivery.
  • 56 percent of customers will shop online.
  • Shoppers in the United States will spend almost $120 billion with online retailers between November 1st and December 31st.
  • Foot traffic in retail stores during November and December fell by 7.5 percent between 2016 and 2017.
  • Out of $6.6 billion spent on Cyber Monday in 2017, $2 billion was collected from mobile devices.
  • 76 percent of shoppers in the United States purchase at least 25 percent of gifts online.
  • 80 percent of holiday shoppers’ purchases are influenced by the internet.
  • 76 percent of mobile shoppers choose a different retailer or brand to buy from after searching online.
  • 8.8 billion data points were collected from email signups and other lead-gen tactics during Black Friday.
  • More than half of holiday orders will include free shipping. 

Omnichannel Holiday Retail Statistics

Consumers don’t communicate with brands on a single channel - so brands must orchestrate their campaigns with this in mind. It’s important to track and integrate both online and offline channels during the holidays in order to fully understand the customer journey, and maximize your marketing ROI.

  • 54 percent of shoppers buy holiday gifts both online and in-store.
  • 65 percent of consumers plan to look at products online, but purchase gifts instore.
  • 66 percent of Black Friday purchases occurred following a social media interaction.
  • 64 percent of smartphone shoppers search for products online before going shopping.
  • 88 percent of consumers are researching products online before purchasing online or in-store.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of information regarding how the holidays impact marketers and retailers – and it’s no wonder why. The holiday season is one of the biggest shopping events of the whole year, and marketers would be wise to capitalize on the opportunities that the holidays present. While this data is appropriate for building a campaign’s framework, marketers shouldn’t solely rely on crowd-sourced data. For best results, brands should collect first-party data from customers, and understand how the holidays influence their own success.

Written by Marketing Evolution