3 Ways for Marketers to Make the Most of Peak Shopping Season Right Now

Our survey of 20,000 consumers revealed three key things every marketer should be doing to make the most of peak shopping season in 2020.
Updated on November 30, 2020

2020 has been unpredictable for businesses, but as we near the end of the year, shoppers are ready to spend. We surveyed thousands of consumers and learned several key takeaways: Many are expecting, planning, and looking forward to buying gifts for the holiday and festive season. Using insights gleaned from Criteo data throughout the US and Europe, we came up with three critical things every marketer should be doing to make the most of the 2020 peak shopping season.

Kick your marketing campaigns into high gear

More online shopping means more competition. But it also gives businesses more opportunities to acquire new customers and drive loyalty, especially if they get an early start on their holiday campaigns.

According to our research, about 6 in 10 shoppers in the US and 1 in 2 shoppers in Europe said they won’t wait until Black Friday to buy gifts if they get early discounts from their favorite retailers.1  As they search for gifts earlier than ever, they’re likely to discover new businesses with early promotions.

Our research also revealed that the COVID-19 crisis impacted the financial situations of younger generations in both the US (18% of Gen Zers and Millennials) and Europe (26% of Gen Zers and Millennials), yet these generations still reported a desire to shop and give gifts despite their personal financial challenges and economic uncertainty. Launching ad campaigns early is more important than ever this year, as consumers will be searching for the best deals on websites and apps to get into the holiday spirit sooner.

Put plans in place now for both digital and in-store sales to attract the most early shoppers possible. Create ad campaigns for online shoppers and for customers willing to venture into your store. Highlight online early-bird promotions as well as safety measures prioritizing the health of your in-store shoppers. Don’t wait for 50% of the market to start (and potentially, finish!) their seasonal purchases. Capitalize on customers’ willingness to buy now and make it easy for them to do so.

Deliver a seamless ecommerce experience

Whether stores will be open or closed, an increase in online shopping will be the key difference for most consumers this season. In the same Criteo study, 64% of consumers in the US and 48% of consumers in Europe said they felt more comfortable shopping online than in-store. At the same time, 33% of European consumers and 41% in the US also said they felt more comfortable shopping in-store now than they did four months ago.

Customers across all generations are looking for fast, free delivery and more return options. Stand out from your competitors by making these options prominent on your website and app. Offer exceptional home delivery services to keep your current customers happy and drive conversions when consumers have doubts about competitors’ shipping options.

Capitalizing on other retailers’ promotions is a vital part of any successful seasonal campaign. With Amazon’s recent Prime Day delivering lackluster sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are poised to capture the seasonal sales peaks. Free shipping, exciting promotions, and increased ad spend will help businesses benefit from the halo effect of big deals days, increasing app and website sales and helping you end 2020 on a more positive note.

Stay on top of the latest consumer trends

The secret to navigating this unprecedented shopping season is to connect with shoppers using data-driven ad campaigns. With more consumers shopping online than ever before, the 2020 fourth quarter marks an unprecedented opportunity to acquire new customers and drive loyalty.

This is a unique opportunity for mass merchants, small businesses and direct-to-consumer brands to capitalize on consumers searching for perfect holiday gifts. If you paused your advertising earlier this year due to uncertainty, now is the time to get your campaigns up and running and turn Q4 into the most successful sales season of the year. It’s important to take advantage of online shopping trend data, and crucial to target your ads accordingly. If you need help, our Holiday Product Finder has data from 20 countries and 600 product categories from 2019 and 2020.

In addition, utilizing shopping intent data has never been more important. Criteo observes real-time browsing and purchasing behaviors to understand real customer journeys and purchase intent. With insights from over 2.5B active online shoppers, $900B annual ecommerce transactions, and over 120 intent signals per shopper, we help businesses of all shapes and sizes find their best customers, reach high-intent holiday shoppers, and deliver a more fulfilling customer experience through even the most challenging times.

Consumers still want to experience the magic of the season this year. Despite the hardships brought on by COVID-19, they want to end the year with gifts and celebrations. Don’t just let them shop with anyone this holiday and festive season, help them find what they want and need from your business, for everyone on their list.

Download The Gifting Report for more data on consumers, shopping intent, and seasonal trends.

1 Criteo’s Holiday Season Survey, Europe (France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, UK), August-September 2020, n=9,250

2 Criteo’s Peak to Recovery Survey, US, May 13-29, 2020, n= 1,365. Criteo’s Peak to Recovery Survey, EMEA, May 13-June 18, 2020, n=10,397.

Explore holiday product sales information in our interactive dashboard:

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