12 key days of this holiday season: How to prepare early and drive profits

Retail-Holiday-Advent-Calendar_hero
Retail-Holiday-Advent-Calendar_hero

ATTRACT EARLY SHOPPERS

Prepare for the most extended holiday shopping season yet.

This year, people are buying their gifts early. Very 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.

REACH OMNIBUYERS

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.2 As people continue to blend their inspiration, browsing, and shopping times, retailers now have even more touchpoints they can use to attract customers.

A video player with a magnifying glass inside a red circle graph. 54% of shoppers used five or more channels — like search, video, and social media — to shop over a two-day holiday period.

Think with Google

Source: 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.Share

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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.

Prepare for these key dates to help drive a successful and profitable holiday season.


ATTRACT EARLY SHOPPERS

Sept. 22: First day of fall

Forty percent of holiday shoppers say their past holiday shopping experience has made them consider shopping much earlier for other milestones this year.3 This means that seasonal shopping has become, ironically, less seasonal and more year-round, with people thinking much further ahead about what they need for all occasions, such as cold-weather supplies or party-hosting essentials.

Tip to prepare

Get ahead of changes in demand and shifting consumer trends with demand forecasts on the Insights page in Google Ads. You can predict search interest over the next six months, which will help you better prepare your budgeting, marketing, and merchandising plans.


ATTRACT EARLY SHOPPERS

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 of last year, Google Image searches for “family halloween costumes” grew globally by over 90% compared to 2020.4

A jack-o’-lantern and spider web with a hovering search bar inside a red circle graph. 90% global increase in searches for “family halloween costumes” from June to August in 2021.

Think with Google

Source: Google Data, Global English, June 22, 2021–Aug. 20, 2021 vs. June 22, 2020–Aug. 20, 2020.Share

Tip to prepare

Use Discovery campaigns to attract shoppers’ attention and give them more visual inspiration as they browse Google’s personalized feeds on YouTube, Discovery, and Gmail.


REACH OMNIBUYERS

Nov. 11: Singles Day and other mega sale events

Singles Day (November 11 or 11/11) 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.

Tip to prepare

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.


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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.5 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.6

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.

Tip to prepare

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.


REACH OMNIBUYERS

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.7 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.

Tip to prepare

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.


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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.

A hand holds a city with a hovering heart inside a red circle graph. 48% of people say they are prepared to invest their time and money to support companies that try to do good.

Think with Google

Source: Kantar, Can the inflation stir us toward a more climate-conscious consumption?, June 2022.Share

Tip to prepare

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.


REACH OMNIBUYERS

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.8

Tip to prepare

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.


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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

A box truck with a FREE stamp inside a red circle graph. 75% of holiday shoppers across surveyed countries say they will shop with stores that offer free shipping.

Think with Google

Source: 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.

Tip to prepare

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.


REACH OMNIBUYERS

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 25.10 For these latecomers, shopping online and then picking up items in a store can be a timesaver.

Tip to prepare

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 todayin a few days, or at curbside.


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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.11

Tip to prepare

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.


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Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve

As New Year’s celebrations approach, not all customers will be on the hunt for party supplies, fancy outfits, and glitter makeup. According to McKinsey, the “nesting” trend appears to be ongoing, with about one-third of consumers saying that they aren’t yet comfortable attending public indoor events.

Highlight products focused on resolutions, self-care, home refreshes, and yearly planning.

Tip to prepare

Highlight products focused on resolutions, self-care, home refreshes, and yearly planning with Video action campaigns, which help you combine the power of video with browsable product feeds.


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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%.12

Tip to prepare

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.

Related

The trends turning curious shoppers into customers this holiday season

Alif Vasaya provides expertise in business strategy, community growth hacking, content production, content strategy, digital ads through acquisitions, raising capital, monetizing the Metaverse, NFT affiliate marketing, consulting, and marketing advising for start-up companies.Highly skilled and results-oriented professional with solid academic preparation holding a bachelor's degree in arts and extensive experience in digital marketing, content production, business transformation, and human resource. Proven ability to assess and manage complex obstacles; viewed as a decisive troubleshooter. Successful in intense and demanding environments, providing strong team leadership and structure with a track record of motivating and developing soldiers.

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