A recent study by RetailMeNot predicted that consumer spending is expected to increase between Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared to last year, and advised retailers to plan their kickoff promotions around a longer period than the traditional Cyber Weekend.
Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $743 on holiday shopping between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, up from $505 in 2016, according to RetailMeNot. Nearly half (45%) of shoppers’ plan to start holiday shopping before Nov. 1 with one in four having already started before October, the study found.
“Back-to-school stretched out to a three-month period, transitioning straight into the holiday season – retailers need to be out now with their holiday messaging,” said Marissa Tarleton, Chief Marketing Officer for RetailMeNot. “Even if consumers aren’t shopping they are browsing for the holiday.”
Tarleton added that most retailers can’t afford to spend heavily on advertising for four months so they need to be very thoughtful about evergreen holiday promotions to drive conversion during short windows.
“Cyber Monday is still a relatively new shopping holiday, and its growth is fueled by the increased popularity of ecommerce and m-commerce” said Tarleton. “It’s also a testament to consumers responding to the deals that retailers issue on that day. Essentially, deals incentivize purchases.”
RetailMeNot found 68% of consumers will spend money between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Specifically, 52% are expected to make purchases on Black Friday, down slightly from 53% in 2016, while 56% are expected to shop on Cyber Monday.”
Just over half of consumers (52%) said they plan to take advantage of a deal or offer when purchasing a gift, while nearly half (48%) of consumers will shop in a store based on the deals they find, the study found. Wish list items include clothing (53%), electronics (51%), toys (32%), jewelry (16%), restaurants/entertainment (15%) and travel (15%).
More than eight in 10 shoppers use up to six channels to find the best holiday deals and promotions including search engines, deals and savings apps, the mobile web, retail apps, word of mouth and newspapers, according to RetailMeNot.
“Consumers are using social, email and search,” Tarleton said. “It’s a complex journey and it’s highly mobile. Retailers need to look for opportunities through those six touch-points in order to be considered during the holiday season.”
The study found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than they did in 2016. In fact, 79% will begin earlier this year and 77% plan to change their holiday marketing strategy.
Fifty-two percent of retailers said they started their holiday promotions in September or earlier. Fifty-eight percent of them said they plan to make online shoppers their main target in 2017, while 42% will focus heavily on in-store shoppers. Sixty-eight percent said they will issue offers through partner apps, while 64% will use mobile single-use codes.
Tarleton said the study revealed that stores are alive and well, with most consumers still including them in their holiday shopping plans but more of them are browsing for deals and offers on mobile. As a result, retailers need to think about in-store strategy to make sure one compliments the other.
Four in 10 retailers are setting aside more than 25% of their overall holiday marketing budget for last-minute promotional activity, RetailMeNot found, with Black Friday deal seeking expanding to a full week of promotions. In 2016, 70% of retailers promoted Black Friday deals before Thanksgiving, while nearly 40% pushed them live prior to Black Friday. Top performing offers and deals were live an average of 4.8 days.
Savvy consumers are searching for different in-store deals this year, according to RetailMeNot, with top categories including health and beauty, home and garden and . Top 2016 categories included home and garden, food and entertainment and clothing.
Tarleton said the types of offers that will keep consumers engaged in holiday shopping this year include expedited free shipping and discount cards, dollar or percentage savings on single items and cash-back offers, and store-wide dollar or percentage discounts.
“Consumers are expecting a longer period of promotions, expect to spend more (in 2017) and expect retailers to engage in promotions earlier and aggressively,” said Tarleton. “They still expect to do shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but that period of time will stretch to two weeks.” Related to that, she said there is less consumer appetite for one-day deals, as they’ve been conditioned to expect an expanded start to the holiday shopping season, so that’s where retailers should put their focus.