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Christmas 2020 isn't cancelled!

There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the media at the moment — and for a good reason: the COVID-19 pandemic is not keen to relent its grip on the world. However, recent research has revealed that consumers have not cancelled their Christmas plans — so brands shouldn’t either!

76% plan to do most of their Christmas shopping online

This is not a particularly big surprise as the trend towards online shopping was already firmly established in recent years! With several countries experiencing movement restrictions, and many consumers feeling nervous about visiting physical stores, the flow of consumers shopping online will become a flood this year.

54% plan to do most of their Christmas shopping in November

There has never been more truth to the phrase “there’s no time like the present.” Now is the time to launch your online holiday campaigns! Your audience is out there, ready, willing and looking to purchase their holiday gifts online.

84% of consumers haven’t purchased Christmas presents yet

The good news is that brands have not missed the boat. The economic uncertainty has trickled into consumer spending habits, and customers have adopted the wait-and-see approach that characterised the early autumn as the world waited to see what the winter might bring. However, with Christmas approaching, consumers won’t delay much longer and will soon be filling their virtual shopping baskets.

75% plan to spend the same or more on gifts as they did last year

Many of us haven’t seen as much of our family and friends as we’d have liked this year. It seems that a significant group of the population want to show the people they love how much they’ve missed them by purchasing extra thoughtful gifts for 2020 — with the sentiment a more decisive factor than cost. Now is the time to launch campaigns with a storytelling focus on appreciation, thoughtfulness and bonding to show your audience how your brand can convey the message they desperately want to send to their loved ones.

91% trust the recommendations of the influencers they follow

Influencers are professional content creators — they know their communities inside and out and know how to talk to them in a way that gains traction and interest. Demonstrating how your products/services work in different contexts and settings across various age groups and cultures opens your brand up to a much wider audience. Now your customer can experience your product in a much more immersive way, through someone they trust and relate to. This enables much stronger visual and emotional storytelling than traditional product advertising could ever deliver!

77% anticipate spending the same or more digital screen time this year

Shopping doesn’t just stop on 24th… in fact, the period between Christmas and New Year is often just as successful for brands. That doesn’t have to change in 2020! Extensively swiping through socials is more than just a trend — it’s an absolute certainty for more demographics than ever before.

That’s where you want your brand to be. That’s when marketers should be running an Instagram Stories campaign. With the swipe up feature, you can direct your audience to your product or service page. Consider also asking influencers to do a story takeover on your brand Instagram page; this will not only increase brand awareness but also drive traffic to your brand page.

Millennials and Gen Z respond well to "infotainment" strategies: brands that correctly balance entertainment with sharing (relevant) information through social media will get good traction with these groups. To generate exponential brand awareness and reach, TikTok & Instagram Reels are the channels to be on right now. A successful method to market with short-form video is to build a featured challenge. Many consumers have a lot of time to fill and are actively looking for ways to fill it: get them engaged in your brand for exceptional awareness and watch your brand sentiment soar!

This festive period will indeed be different — possibly very different in some places — but that doesn’t have to be a disaster for your brand with proactive planning and preparation. In a recent survey, the majority of consumers responded that they had tried out new brands for the first time during lockdown: this presents an excellent opportunity for brand conversion. The task at hand is finding the most efficient way to reach them, and with 95% of consumers spending more time on in-home media consumption, the answer appears obvious. Your audience is online, reach out to them through influencer marketing.