01 / Article

Last-minute strategies for marketing during the 2020 holiday season

Erin Doland
Erin Doland
5 min read

This year has been such a roller coaster ride that many businesses—especially small businesses—have delayed some of their marketing planning for the 2020 holiday season. It makes sense, as Covid cases rise again, that businesses would want to wait to respond to the volatile situation.

If you’re one of the businesses that has waited to see what will happen, now is the time to put those last pieces of your strategy into motion.

Digital or bust

One thing is for certain: Digital will play a huge role in the next couple months and should be where businesses invest their marketing efforts. According to Nielson, “Online shopping will power more holiday consumer behaviors than ever before. It has already been a huge year for e-commerce growth, and even ahead of seasonal holiday demand, online buying behavior has continued to thrive in markets around the globe.”

Shopping insights

It seems intuitive that online shopping will increase in 2020. But when building strategy, it’s always a good idea to know some exact numbers.

Based on search data from this year, Google released a 2020 retail holiday guide predicting consumer behaviors. Some highlights:

  • 62% of US shoppers will start holiday shopping earlier to avoid items being out of stock
  • This year, 69% of US shoppers plan to shop online for the holidays more than in previous years, with more people going online to browse and buy for the very first time
  • 77% of US holiday shoppers said they would browse for gift ideas online, not in-store
  • 66% of US consumers who plan to shop this holiday season said they will shop more at local small businesses
  • Over 70% of viewers say YouTube makes them more aware of new brands

Because multiple data sources are better than one, Adobe made some forecasts of their own for the 2020 holiday season:

  • Adobe predicts that U.S. online holiday sales will total $189 billion, shattering all previous records with a 33% YoY increase, equal to two years’ growth in one season. If consumers receive another round of stimulus checks and physical stores need to shut down in large parts of the country, consumers are expected to spend an additional $11 billion online, surpassing a total of $200 billion (47% YoY increase).
  • In lieu of friend and family gatherings this year, Americans are expected to spend 18% more on gifts directly delivered from the retailer to people they might otherwise see in-person
  • 64% of consumers won’t pay for fast shipping
  • December 1 is golden day for cheapest shipping
  • 42% of all online shopping will be done from smartphones (up 55%)

Even more holiday insights to review:

2020 holiday season marketing ideas

It’s not too late to use this industry data to influence your marketing and advertising strategies. The following are actions you can still implement to make this year successful:

  • If you haven’t started running digital advertisements, start today. People are already buying for the holidays. And if you have, switch up your campaigns if you aren’t seeing the results you want. Be agile to get the results you want.
  • Discount products to encourage purchasing on days other than Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Remember, December 1 is the “golden day” for holiday shipping, so take advantage of that insight.
  • Post product feature videos on YouTube—people want to see how your products will help them or the person they’re purchasing for. User-generated content is great for this, just don’t forget to reward the people who help out your business.
  • Enhance your eCommerce site for desktop and mobile experiences to make buying directly from your company just as easy as buying through a third-party retailer like Amazon and Pinterest.
  • If you’re not promoting your company through Pinterest, you really should.
  • In all the outlets and directories where your business is listed, list your COVID procedures for curbside pickup, in-store pickup, and delivery. This may include your company’s website, Google My Business, Bing Places, Pinterest, industry directories, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and Nextdoor Business.
  • List all promotions where your business is listed, too.
  • Your customer is stuck at home, just like you are, so be sure to push any products that make spending so much time at home more enjoyable.
  • Finally, you know this one but it is worth stating: Highlight your company’s values in your marketing campaigns. Your customers have time to research and they want to know what you’re doing to make the world a better place.