New implications for marketers with E-Commerce, Mobile and Social presence.

The Christmas Creep has set a new high water mark this year. On Monday, September 9th, Kmart aired the first holiday ad of the 2013 season.  But Christmas Creep, defined by Urban Dictionary as the “universally hated, market driven phenomenon that if left unchecked will eventually culminate in an uninterrupted decade of concatenated carol medleys…” Well, it got us thinking. What could we expect from this holiday season? Sales are expected to increase to over $600 billion this year, a larger increase than last year1, but how exactly can brands and retailers get ahead?  Here are five of our favorite observations.


Online Spending is a Major Driver of Growth

This year, e-commerce is expected to grow as much as 15% over last holiday season to $82 billion2. Cyber Monday is projected to eclipse $2 billion in sales in a single day, making it the single largest online shopping day ever. Mobile is playing an ever increasing role in e-commerce. On Thanksgiving Day 2012, 41% of retailer web traffic was mobile and 11% came from tablets, up from 34% and 6% in 2011. Combined, total mobile traffic should eclipse 60% on Thanksgiving Day 20133. Retailers are responding to the mobile shift, with over half stating that a mobile optimized website was one of their most important investments made in 2013. The value of e-commerce from its significant role in growing the retail industry is just one part of the story, the other part is the possibilities that it presents for digital analytics. Make sure to identify and apply those insights!


Mobile E-commerce is also Growing – Among a Surprising Demographic

This holiday season, sales from mobile shopping are predicted to account for 16% of total e-commerce dollars (+$10 billion)4. There is a shift underway with mobile, and according to a recent report cited by Practical Ecommerce, men are leading the charge based on both intent to buy and final conversions made via mobile devices. Maybe guys do like to shop, after all – they just needed to be presented with the proper technology and setting. A new study from Kantar Media found that 22.2% of men made a purchase from their smartphone versus 18.2% of women5. Shop in a crowded mall or from a comfortable couch? If it makes sense to the business, provide both options.


“Click-and-Collect” Option Increasingly Popular for CPG Brands

Currently only 2% of all CPG sales occur via e-commerce – but this trend is beginning to build momentum, with 33% of consumers reporting that they buy grocery products online6. In the past, the choice for consumers was between shopping brick-and-mortar or ordering online for home delivery. Increasingly, retailers are offering curbside pick-up at store or “click-and-collect” as a third option – providing the convenience and time savings of the online experience with the ability to purchase things that previously could not be inexpensively or reliably shipped (such as produce, perishables, frozen and pre-made foods). New alternatives that help consumers avoid parking lots and check out lines are sure to spread a little extra holiday cheer!


No Ecommerce? Try Pinterest.

Pinterest has proven itself in the realm of social platforms over the past year. Its connection to online sales and e-commerce is significant as it has attained the top spot in average order value (AOV) as compared to other social platforms. According to a recent study, Pinterest’s AOV in 2012 was $169 leading Facebook’s $95 and Twitter’s $717. With the top spot in AOV, Pinterest is working to improve actual conversions as a next step. The platform recently introduced “Rich Pins”, a new product that will allow for automatic updates to the availability and pricing of existing pins. No e-Commerce presence? Your brand can still capitalize on the new phenomenon of Reverse Showrooming – consumers seeing a product or brand online and then going to a store to make the purchase. 21% of Pinterest users actually purchased an item in a brick-and-mortar location after pinning, liking, or repining it through the social platform8. Brands with a presence on Pinterest are able to connect with and provide inspiration to potential consumers in a natural yet meaningful way.


Recipe Searches Peak During the Holidays

Speaking of Pinterest, did you know that Food is the #4 category on Pinterest at 10.5% of all pins, and it is the fastest growing category on the platform9? Not surprisingly, the volume of web searches that include the keyword “recipes” spikes tremendously the week of Thanksgiving and again the week preceding Christmas, with a noticeable lull in between. These peaks and valleys present unique opportunities for food and CPG companies to provide meaningful recipe content or helpful preparation suggestions.


Taking a closer look, it is also notable that “easy recipes” are more commonly searched year round and during the holidays, until the week of January 1st, when “healthy recipes” eclipse it. Alas, resolutions fade and the gap reappears slightly further into the year.


What other trends do you believe will have a big impact for brands this holiday shopping season?


  1. National Retail Federation: 2013 Holiday Forecast
  2. Shop.org: 2013 Holiday Forecast
  3. CNBC: Brad’s Deals 2013 Holiday Shopping Study
  4. eMarketer: Mobile Devices to Boost US Holiday Ecommerce Sales Growth
  5. BizReport/Kantar Media: Mobile Blurs Shopping Gender Stereotypes
  6. Path to Purchase Institute: The New Aisle – Emerging Trends in Online Grocery Shopping *Must subscribe to Path to Purchase Institute in order to view content.
  7. RichRelevance: Who’s Driving Shopping Traffic for Retail Sites? Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter Compared
  8. Vision Critical: Could Pinterest Reverse the Effects of Showrooming?
  9. Venturebeat: The Surprising Content Category Taking Over Pinterest
Alex and Shana
Alex and Shana