During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, consumers don’t tend to shop how they would on a normal day. Their time is stretched, they have shopping lists to check off and, while they’re always looking for the best deal, they tend to spend more than usual.
Despite these nuances, the holiday season is a prime time for new trends to emerge. In 2011, for example, the term “Couch Commerce” first emerged to illustrate mobile’s impact on holiday shopping behaviors and sales. During the latest episode of our Holiday Insights Series podcast, Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer of Kantar Consulting, shared his five top trends for 2019 and how retailers can prepare for them.
TREND 1: Mobile will play a more prominent role for consumers as they shop
online and in stores.
HOW TO PREPARE: Bryan expects that retailers will finally figure out how to optimize their mobile experiences. To capitalize on the expected surge in traffic and sales, retailers should take a closer look at how consumers are using their devices for inspiration, browsing, and buying. Then, determine how content, personalization, and other elements will connect their entire brand ecosystem.
TREND 2: Consumers will expect in-store experiences that align with their
unique shopping habits, and retailers will think more critically about when
their experiences should be frictionless or experiential.
HOW TO PREPARE: This trend makes perfect sense, especially when you think about your own individual shopping behaviors. There are times you need to run in and out of a store quickly. Other times, you’re in the mood to browse leisurely. In 2019, retailers should think about the type of experiences shoppers want to have. What does an educational experience look like? What does a more entertaining experience look like? What does a fast and easy shopping experience look like? It will vary from retailer to retailer, so you must think first and foremost about your customer and the brand story you want to convey.
TREND 3: Temporary retail locations will continue to be big — for consumers and retailers.
HOW TO PREPARE: Pop-ups and event-based stores were a big trend this year, and that trend will only continue in 2019. Consumers are gravitating to “Instagrammable moments” more than ever, so retailers should brainstorm ways to generate excitement and awareness in these locations. After all, they’re hotbeds for experimentation and data collection.
TREND 4: The holiday shopping season will consolidate as the retail industry continues to globalize, and will start on or around Singles’ Day.
HOW TO PREPARE: The impact of Singles’ Day is undeniable. Alibaba reported nearly $31 billion in sales for this one day. The shopping holiday is getting more worldwide recognition and media buzz, so retailers should think about how they can capitalize on the holiday as a marketing opportunity.
TREND 5: Consumers will shop in spurts during the holiday season.
HOW TO PREPARE: Retailers need to strategically plan their campaigns and deals to engage and re-engage consumers throughout the entire season. Rather than focusing on conversions alone, marketers should think of all stages of the customer lifecycle — including post-purchases phases like retention and loyalty.