Post-Holiday Blues? I Don't Think So.

By A+E Networks InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Post-Holiday Blues? I Don't Think So.

The playoffs are over. Critical decisions have been made, winners picked, and the intensity has now dropped. Yes, the holiday shopping season has finished! But as with sports, there is no off-season when it comes to shopping and no post-holiday retail blues. Instead, there are returns, post-holiday sales and that gift for yourself that you had your eye on. People are always shopping for all sorts of different reasons.

Nearly half of Americans shop the post-holiday sales – a slightly higher figure than even Black Friday or Cyber Monday, according to an A+E Networks study. Moreover, over a third say they usually spend more than planned when post-holiday shopping. Almost two thirds say they find the best deals after the holidays.

Click below to download the A+E Networks Insights Report,Post-Holiday Blues? I Don't Think So.

For marketers and consumers there is a big upsell opportunity in the post-holiday marketplace. Every day is Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Once they've finished buying gifts for others, consumers are looking for deals on items for themselves and will visit stores or go online to take advantage of sales and gift cards to reward themselves for a successful gift-giving season.

With the holiday playoffs over, men and women celebrate differently. Men typically hunt for something specific and are more likely to buy computer hardware, electronics and alcoholic beverages. Women typically engage in more of a gathering approach to shopping and are more likely to buy beauty products and toys or games. In many ways we revert to our gender stereotypes and hunter-gatherer instincts.

The message for marketers is clear: if you only invest in your product and its message during the holiday season, you are missing a tremendous opportunity to continue the conversation with consumers. Post-holiday messaging should focus on "shopping for self", not "shopping for others". Understanding the big and small differences in how men and women shop is also vital. Men, for example, are more achievement oriented and want to return home with an item; women are browsers and happy buying nothing.

Surprisingly, there is very little difference in how consumers go about their post-holiday shopping compared to their holiday shopping. There is a slight decrease in time spent researching where to buy something after the holidays than before, and a slight increase in how long consumers take to actually buy a product, but the time spent on all other activities such as researching products, reading reviews and deciding what to buy barely changes.

There's also little change in how consumers use online and in-store platforms while on their path to purchase. More than half go online to research products and read reviews, but once they've done the research the majority of consumers use both platforms to continue on the path, whether before or after the holidays.

The tools that shoppers use are changing. Forty percent of adults say they'll use a smartphone for any part of their shopping process before and/or after the holidays. This compares with 93% who will use their computer and 32% who will use their tablet. As more people increasingly rely on their smartphones, however, they are starting to reach for them first, even when a PC is nearby.

According to an AdX/Telemetrics survey, the length and intent behind the path-to-purchase varies by category, but among the top-four categories a considerable amount of mobile activity happens at the start of the purchase process. This is when consumers are just beginning to evaluate options and can potentially be influenced the most by marketers.

Ultimately an omni-channel retail strategy is essential to offer a seamless customer experience. Television continues to have the greatest reach and is best in driving overall awareness; print delivers a focused audience and drives consideration; and digital channels, including online and mobile, keep consumers connected along their entire path-to-purchase

Click below to download the A+E Networks Insights Report,Post-Holiday Blues? I Don't Think So.

Photograph courtesy of Corbis. The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of / MyersBizNet, Inc. management or associated bloggers.

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