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Holiday Optimism Brings Joy to Marketers

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What a difference a year makes! As summer eased into fall, surveys indicated that people were finally ready to get out and get back to living their lives. In their 2021 Holiday Outlook PwC reported "consumers are ready to celebrate this year. They want to shop and travel and make merry."

We even have official permission to travel – the CDC announced that they "fully expect that families and friends will gather for the holidays this year," so they issued new health and safety guidelines for gatherings and travel.

KPMG and other industry watchers predicted nearly half (48%) of consumers would visit brick-and-mortar stores to do their holiday shopping, spending 6.6% more there than last year. A mere 14% of shoppers said they would not shop in-store. Smart retailers took note. They prepared for an in-store influx. Smart marketers also took note, because more folks out on the streets open the door to a gold mine of out-of-home opportunities.

And the predictions were right. People are coming out in droves, perhaps not quite up to pre-pandemic levels, but far exceeding last year.

People are driving . . . and flying

As of mid-November, Travel + Leisure reports, 53.4 Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving, mostly by car (about 90%), although air travel will be nearly 10%. Over the Christmas holiday, airports expect to see about two million travelers each day. Other surveys offer different figures, but regardless of whose numbers turn out to be correct, it’s a lot of people and a lot of prospective marketing impressions. Way more than last year.

People are shopping

All types of stores are seeing renewed foot traffic this season -- big box stores and large specialty retailers (electronics, home furnishings, sporting goods, etc.) are prominent, but PwC says 56% intend to purchase more from local, independent retail shops and boutiques. At the same time, online sales from home and mobile devices are also expected to grow substantially this year.

Convenience is priority #1

Holiday shoppers want easy, fast delivery options. They are a lot more concerned about getting their stuff on time than they are about whether it's safe to leave the house to shop or pick up their goods. Everyone is painfully aware of the impact of worldwide supply chain woes and resulting shortages (or fears of shortages), especially of high-demand items. Nonetheless, shoppers willing to take a chance on delivery want that shipping to be free.

BOPIS is surging

Instead of chancing delivery, a record number of shoppers are expected to use buy online, pickup in-store and curbside pickup options. Half say they will use curbside as often as they did last year, but another third say they will rely on this even more.

Retailers have done everything they can to accommodate this by stockpiling inventories in-store, knowing that shipping could become a problem as shopping deadlines near. Still, buyers will have to travel to the store, or at least the curb outside, to get their goods.

People are dining out

As of mid-November, 67% of American adults report they feel comfortable eating out at a restaurant, and many of them do that more than once a week. Outdoor dining is favored by 74%, while two-thirds say indoor dining feels fine, too.

People are leaving home to recreate and enjoy local entertainment, too, indoors or out as weather permits. If your marketing plan doesn't include out-of-home advertising this holiday season, you’re missing out. But you can still take a right turn.

Retail trends inform marketers

Trends in retail shopper behavior this season tell us which marketing messages will be most effective to grab their attention and capture their purchasing dollars:

  • Emotional appeal
  • Loyalty programs (more than half of consumers say this influences their holiday shopping)
  • Discovery marketing that sparks gift ideas
  • Digital coupons
  • Promo codes

If you've got it this holiday season, flaunt it. Basic branding is always in season, so consider turning your ad into a holiday greeting card so that everyone can receive your good cheer (and perhaps more with a well-placed CTA).

OOH reaches SHOPPERS

According to RetailMeNot, consumers expect to spend 15% more this holiday season than last year. If you don't pull out all the stops to reach them, you’re leaving money on the table. That makes no sense, especially at a time when businesses are still struggling to recover from the pandemic's economic damage. And money aside, every marketing message not delivered is one less chance to create or reinforce brand loyalty.

Out of home advertising offers a new twist on multi-channel, with indoor and outdoor placement options that can target your desired audience within any specified geographic area. At the same time, your message reaches others who are passing by, 24/7. Eye-popping visuals and quick-to-grasp messages stand out, and OOH delivers even more with a smart CTA. That's why out of home is proven to boost digital advertising and experience campaigns with greater reach and more effective, cost-efficient results.

Digital marketer Mike Esposito says, "Pairing together offline strengths and online advantages is the key to enhancing interactions with customers whether they choose to buy online or in store this holiday season. Delivering an exceptional customer shopping experience is key."

OOH meets shoppers where they are when they're out and about with snappy, succinct, can't-miss advertising messages. For marketers, that means more revenue and a higher return on marketing dollars. That’s a bonus everyone wants to unwrap this holiday season.

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