Top Takeaways From the 2021 Criteo Holiday Summit 

We held a virtual summit to help marketers plan their ad strategies for the upcoming holiday season. Here are the key takeaways.
Updated on October 21, 2021

The 2021 holiday season promises to be one unlike any other. The pandemic continues to disrupt everything from supply chains to in-store shopping, leaving many retailers and brands unsure of how to proceed confidently into the biggest shopping season of the year.

To help marketers plan, Criteo held a two-hour long virtual summit outlining how businesses can drive commerce outcomes throughout the upcoming holiday season. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

1. Consumers will shop earlier than ever

Criteo data shows that In 2020, US consumers, on average, began looking for their Black Friday purchases an average of 14 days prior to the big day. Ongoing supply chain issues, along with earlier-than-last-year sales events (read: a summer Amazon Prime Day versus the October Prime Day from 2020) mean consumers may start their Black Friday purchase journey even earlier in 2021.

Consider launching seasonal sales ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as lots of consumers are likely to be browsing and shopping by Halloween!

2. More product discovery will happen through video

Consumers have become increasingly “plugged in” over the course of the past year and a half. They’re watching more online video. Many have signed up for several streaming services. Everyone is spending more time on their phones or home computers.

Criteo survey data shows us that while retail sites and apps and search engines remain top channels for discovery in the US, streaming video is well on the rise. Forty-one percent of streaming viewers in the US told us that video services help them find new products.2

3. Stores will help make the holiday season bright

Criteo data shows that in-store sales were up 61% the week ending August 15th, when compared with the first 4 weeks of January 2021.3 Consumers have certainly missed the in-store experience over the course of the pandemic, and will continue to shop in-store for the holidays (if and when stores are open), particularly as last-minute shopping approaches.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that shoppers are rarely ever only in-store anymore. Many in-store shoppers have come to expect click-and-collect options like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) or curbside pickup over the course of the pandemic. According to our research, 52% of US consumers have used some form of click-and-collect in the past.4

4. Now is a great time to prepare for the future

In another Criteo survey, nearly half of US marketers told us they planned to accelerate their testing plans as a result of Google’s news to delay the ending of their support for third-party cookies until 2023.5

Not matter what happens, the peak shopping season is an ideal time for marketers to be testing different solutions, including contextual advertising and retail media. The findings can help shape your 2022 strategies and set you up for success in the new year and beyond.

Be sure to check out the full recording of the day’s sessions. Catch the Americas event here, and for EMEA-specific event, watch here.

Criteo Data, Apparel, US, Q4 2020, desktop and mobile combined.

2 Criteo State of Video & Connected TV Survey, US, Q2 2021, n=1001. Survey respondents are consumers who own a smart TV or an internet TV device and watch a paid or free video streaming service.

3 Criteo Data, US, retailers who generate sales online and in-store, all categories combined. Indexed Unit Sales based on the first four weeks of January 2021.

4Criteo Consumer Sentiment Index Survey, US, April-June 2021, n=3,031. Base: Category shoppers (at least one online purchase of apparel, consumer electronics, home appliances, home furnishings, or sporting goods in the last 30 days).

5Criteo Google Announcement Survey, US, July 7 – August 2, 2021, n=222.

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